Zika scientists set to trial two potential vaccines on humans

  • Scientists are set to trial two potential Zika vaccines on humans within six months
  • The study was described as a “significant step” towards developing a safe and effective Zika vaccine
  • One treatment involved injecting “genetic snippets” from a Zika virus strain in Brazil while the other was made from a purified, inactivated strain in Puerto Rico

Scientists are set to trial  two potential Zika vaccines on humans within six months as they believe they could  soon offer complete protection from the mosquito-borne virus

The good news came from the US military researchers and academics at Harvard University after successfully trialing the treatments on mice that found the animals fully protected from the virus up to eight weeks after inoculation, an article published by The Telegraph mentioned.

Hailed by scientists, the study was described as a “significant step” towards developing a safe and effective Zika vaccine.

Based on reports, one of the treatments involved injecting “genetic snippets” from a Zika virus strain, which circulated recently in Brazil, to elicit immune responses while the second vaccine was made from a purified, inactivated strain that was recently present in Puerto Rico.

As such, the study conducted by scientists involved a group of test mice that were exposed to one or other of the strains up to eight weeks after receiving either of the inoculations wherein no virus replication was detected.

Several months ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic, which originated in Latin America, a global public health emergency.

Eventually, the public health emergency caused panic on people as it specifically casted a shadow over the Rio Olympics which is due to start on August 5. Some athletes, including British golfer Rory McIlroy, started to pull out of the games due to fears over the virus.

As the spread of the virus became rapid in the past few months,  a flurry of research were conducted which aimed at developing a safe and effective vaccine.

Positive development came last week when French researchers announced they had found antibodies generated from people infected with dengue fever that could potentially also prevent Zika.

Colonel Nelson Michael, project co-leader at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington DC, disclosed that the critical first step has informed their ongoing work in non-human primates and has given them hope that development of a protective Zika virus vaccine for humans is indeed feasible.

However, Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology, said DNA vaccines that had worked in mice had a history of not working in humans as he claimed that the classical inactivated vaccine working in humans might be more effective.

 

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