Earlier this week, we learned a welcome piece of good news in the ongoing Zika epidemic. Biotechnology companies have been stepping up to the plate to develop technologies to fight back against the virus, and now the first potential vaccine for the virus has received FDA approval to begin clinical trials. As reported in the Washington Post:
Pennsylvania vaccine maker Inovio Pharmaceuticals and South Korea’s GeneOne Life Sciences said Monday that they had received approval from U.S. regulators to start testing a DNA vaccine, known as GLS-5700, on humans. The early-stage study will include 40 healthy subjects. It is primarily designed to assess the safety of the vaccine but will also measure the immune response generated by the injection.
According to Inovio, the tests are set to commence in the next few weeks and results are expected to be reported later this year.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has stated that Zika – part of the flavivirus family of viruses which includes West Nile, yellow fever, and dengue – has been uniquely challenging because it is the only one that invades the blood-brain and placental barriers attacking your nervous system and/or developing fetuses. That said, he believes:
The world’s best hope against Zika is a vaccine. Because of previous research on West Nile and dengue, a Zika vaccine should take less time to develop than vaccines for many other infectious diseases.
Read the full piece here.