A group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have developed a new vaccine against Zika that has proved to be effective with a single low-dose.
The new vaccine is based on the inactivated virus and is made up of small tissues of modified messengers RNA with genetic codes. These modified molecules improve the delivery of the vaccine’s proteins. They go directly into the cell without any immunological barrier. This modification was possible due to stimulation of CD4 cells, which guarantee long term immunity.
Drew Weissman, member of the team at the University of Pennsylvania, said to Newscientist.com that other vaccines in the pipeline require two immunization shots, while this one is more potent. It gave the primates immunity to zika virus at one-twentieth of the dose needed for other vaccines. Also, the immunity is longer than other vaccines as it prove it has protected mice and primates from challenges five months and five weeks after vaccination, respectively,. “The vaccine works just as well in macaques as it does in mice, so that makes us think that it’s going to work just as well in people,” Weissman said to Newscientist.com. The clinical trials in humans will start within 18 months.
Last November, the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted the fifth Emergency Committee meeting (EC) to discuss the state of the zika virus. It concluded that zika virus and associated consequences, such as microcephalia, remain a significant enduring public health challenge.
From 2015 to 2017, there have been 7,634 reported cases of zika in Mexico according to the Ministry of Health and from those, 23 cases have been reported in 2017.