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Author Topic: United States Launches Experimental Zika Vaccine Clinical Trials  (Read 314 times)

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The U.S. government has begun the first clinical trial of an experimental Zika vaccine. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the announcement, “I am pleased to report that we have begun, on August 2, testing an investigational DNA vaccine intended to prevent Zika virus infection.”

The experimental vaccine has shown a good response in animal models. Fauci says investigators should know soon whether it is safe for use in the first trials involving 40 human volunteers in the United States.

“If we get a good immune response and there are no safety red flags by the end of December 2016, we should know if it’s okay to move on to phase II,” he said.

He said plans are under way to begin that second round of clinical trials at the start of 2017.

Phase II clinical trials are larger human studies involving more participants. They would be conducted in endemic countries, testing not only the safety of the Zika vaccine but its effectiveness in raising an immune response. 

The mosquito-borne Zika virus usually causes mild illness in otherwise healthy people; but, the real danger is to the fetus of pregnant women.

If infected with the virus, women can give birth to babies with a severe condition known as microcephaly, in which newborns' heads and brains are unusually small. Microcephaly can cause mental and physical disability, seizures and even death.


 

 

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