We’ve been covering the Zika virus and monitoring any progress that’s been being made so far, and we’re pleased to report some good news for a change. It appears that an experimental Zika vaccine is in the works and is slated for human test trials after being approved by health officials in the US.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals was granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration to begin early-stage tests of its vaccination, which is a DNA-based vaccine. The company has said that it hopes to begin human testing some time during the fall of this year.
The vaccine that is being designed is geared towards charging up the immune system so it can fight the Zika virus by using genetically engineered components that help the immune system tackle the virus. According to Inovio, the vaccine was very responsive in animal testing.
A 40-person study is slated to begin this fall, and the company has stated that they hope to show positive results by the end of the year. At the present, there are no drugs that can treat the virus currently. And it’s unknown how far or fast the virus could spread over the next year.
People contract the Zika virus after being bitten by mosquitoes that are carrying the infection. It only causes a temporarily and often unnoticeable illness, but has been linked to dangerous birth defects and birth fatalities.
Over the past year, it’s spread like wildfire in Latin America, creating one of the biggest worldwide health scares since the SARS virus.
We’ll keep on following any updates of this virus and will be reporting back to you to keep you informed.
According to the CDC, only 755 travel cases have been reported so far in the US. But 1,455 cases have been reported in US territories. 141 of the domestic reported cases were reported in Florida, with California coming in second with 48 reported cases.
Zika can be transmitted sexually from infected partners, prompting health officials to warn people to have protected sex or to refrain from sexual activity if they have become infected until cleared by a doctor.