New Zika vaccine makes mice, monkeys immune from disease

Fourth Estate Staff

Philadelphia, PA, United States (4E) – A new Zika vaccine made mice and monkeys immune from the virus for long periods of time with only just one shot.

Drew Weissman of the University of Pennsylvania, who is a member of the team that developed the vaccine, said that the vaccine is from an inactivated virus and because of that nature, it makes it much safer and easier to produce.

Zika virus started in Latin America and could result to newborn babies having microcephaly . Other effects are long-term effects for adults. The virus could be transmitted via the infected Aedes mosquito. Other birth defects that babies could suffer from if their mother got bitten by the infected mosquito are damage in the vision and hearing as well as in the nervous system of the baby.

This is not the first time that a vaccine was created to fight the virus. However, this marks the first time that a strong and long-lasting protection was developed without the use of a live virus. Although animal research does not always have the same effect on humans, the researchers are optimistic about the latest vaccine developed. The research was published in the journal called Nature last Feb. 1.

The mice that had one shot of the vaccine were able to remain protected from the virus even after five months of being exposed to it. For the monkeys, one injection of the vaccine kept them protected for five weeks. Weissman added, “We observed rapid and durable protective immunity without adverse events, and so we think this candidate vaccine represents a promising strategy for the global fight against Zika virus.” Clinical trials are hoped to roll out in the next 12 to 18 months.

Scientists have been scrambling to look for a cure after Florida became a hotbed for the disease. As of writing, 1,394 pregnant women were reported to have been diagnosed with Zika virus. 38 infants were born with Zika-related birth defects.

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