Zika Vaccine News and Update: DNA may be the Key For Its Quick Development

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Mar 15, 2017 06:41 AM EDT

The Zika virus propagated like wildfire tearing across multiple countries. During its early days, women of child-bearing age were at the mercy of the virus' virulence. The scientists developing the vaccine for preventing congenital Zika infection suggest that using DNA may be the key to the quick development of a Zika vaccine.

According to Science News, DNA-based vaccines are quicker to develop when compared to traditional methods. In fact, last August 2016, scientists have infused a potential Zika vaccine into a human being, just three and a half months after they had concocted a recipe for the Zika vaccine.

The key for the quick development of Zika vaccine, according to Anthony Fauci, is by using DNA. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland said that by using DNA, scientists just have to get the right sequence to tailor a vaccine.

Back in 2015, an outbreak of Zika virus spread through the Caribbean and the Americas. The Zika virus was identified as a cause of a congenital disease that affected pregnant women. Scientists raced to develop a DNA-based Zika vaccine to prevent viremia in women of child-bearing age and their partners.

A study published in ScienceMag suggests that using DNA may be the key to the quick development of a Zika vaccine. The study concludes that "DNA vaccination could be a successful approach to protecting against Zika virus infection." Using DNA-based vaccines would also help in preventing viremia following acute infection, the study further states.

Last Feb. 6, 2017, vaccine clinical researcher Julie Ledgerwood revealed that the clinical trials of the Zika vaccine candidate are in its second phase. Ledgerwood announced the news while speaking at the American Society for Microbiology convention in Washington, D.C.

According to Julie Ledgerwood, they are working on a Zika vaccine that can prevent congenital Zika infection and that the key to the quick development of a Zika vaccine is through DNA. However, the US government has other ongoing studies with regards to the development of a Zika vaccine. Anthony Fauci says that they have other potential Zika vaccine candidates that are being developed using traditional and new techniques.

Another Zika vaccine candidate being developed is based on RNA. In a study published in Cell, the researchers revealed that in their clinical trials, the RNA-based Zika vaccines protected mice against the virus. The RNA-based Zika vaccine candidate has even reduced the virulence of subsequent dengue infection, the study announced.

These multiple studies concerning the development of a Zika vaccine are heading in the right direction. The more studies the researchers can offer could mean that the public health officials will have flexibility when combating the virus. It would also mean that these researchers would have an opportunity to tailor an accurate response based on demographics.

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