A cure for the mosquito-borne Zika Virus took one step closer today thanks to Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
In preclinical trials, Inovio Pharmceutical (INO) tested a synthetic Zika Virus vaccine that showed robust immune response in mice. The CDC and numerous health authorities have warned of the potential health risks to newborns including microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. There are upwards of 4000 infants with brain damage in Brazil with Zika being the most likely cause.
Inovio reported that mice given its vaccine showed the development of antibodies and generated a response from T-cells, which create important immunizations in the body. Human testing is a three phase process that Inovio said will begin by August of this year.
The Pennsylvania-based Inovio is working hand in hand with a South Korean company called GeneOne Life Science to create this vaccine. However, Inovio’s patented SynCon® technology made the difference in this big first step. Using SynCon® allowed scientists to quickly create a vaccine candidate for testing. In addition, these SynCon constructs were administered using Inovio's CELLECTRA® electroporation delivery technology. The company will next test the vaccine on non-human primates.
The Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female Aedes mosquitoes, the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The Aedes is mosquito loves the human environment. It will lay eggs in small places like a bottle cap with only a few drops of rain water inside. Also, the Aedes mosquito is what is called a “sipper.” It likes to sip the blood from one person and then quickly fly to another. This causes the disease to spread rapidly. People who get Zika typically have a mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and fatigue that can last for two to seven days.
Today, Inovio Pharmceuticals has put itself decidedly ahead of the other companies racing to find a cure for this outbreak.
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