Zika vaccine

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There is no vaccine yet to prevent the infection of Zika virus. There is no medicine to treat Zika fever.

The best form of prevention of Zika virus is protection against mosquito bites.

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization has declared Zika virus a public health emergency.

A vaccine for Zika virus is years away. Funding of Zika vaccine development is necessary. A vaccine may not arrive in time to protect this generation of babies, considering the complexities of testing a vaccine for use in pregnant women.

Research

In February 2016, Brazilian president's chief of staff Jacques Wagner said that it will take between three to five years to develop a vaccine for Zika virus. He said Brazilian researchers are working with researchers from the United States to develop the vaccine.

On February 2, 2016 French drugmaker Sanofi SA has launched a project to develop a vaccine against the virus marking most decisive commitment yet by a major vaccine maker. The company said its Sanofi Pasteur vaccines division would use its expertise in developing vaccines for similar viruses such as yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and dengue.

The University of South Australia announced it was working on a Zika vaccine with Australian biotech Sementis Ltd.

U.S. drug developer NewLink Genetics Corp announced it has started a project to develop Zika treatment options.

On Feb 3 2016, Indian Vaccines manufacturer Bharat Biotech announced a breakthrough in developing the world's first Zika vaccine. The company has submitted to the government two vaccine candidates: one inactivated and one recombinant. For more information, read Bharat Biotech.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is experimenting with a DNA-based vaccine for Zika virus. Dr. J. Joseph Kim is the president and CEO of Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

On 17 February 2016, Inovio Pharmaceuticals released initial results from a pre-clinical test that demonstrated antibody and killer T cell responses in mice. The testing resulted in detection of specific antibodies in the blood of all vaccinated mice. The announcement stated that pre-clinical testing of its synthetic Zika virus vaccine had "induced robust and durable immune responses". The company's DNA-based vaccine was administered to the mice using Inovio's electroporation delivery technology. Electroporation involves applying an electric field so that cells become more permeable, which allows DNA to be introduced to the cells.

Now that the testing on mice is done, the next phase is testing the Zika vaccine on non-human primates and is likely to go on for several months. The company is aiming to begin Phase 1 trial in humans in late 2016.