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February 03, 2017

Penn-led Zika vaccine candidate shows long-lasting protection with one dose

Vaccine is first to show promise without use of live virus

A new vaccine candidate developed under the leadership of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania is showing promise in protecting against the Zika virus.

According to Penn Medicine, the vaccine is the first to show long-lasting protection against the virus with just a single low-dose immunization. The vaccine is also the first created without the use of a live virus, and the results, at this stage, show no adverse effects.

Clinical trials are expected to start in 12 to 18 months, senior author Dr. Drew Weissman, Ph.D., a professor of infectious disease at Penn, told Penn Medicine.

The research is being led by scientists at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine in collaboration with researchers in labs at Duke University and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the latter a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

For the preliminary findings, the team injected live mice and monkeys with the vaccine, which delivers tiny strands of lab-modified RNA holding the genetic codes for making viral proteins.

This mimics what a live virus vaccine would achieve but without the serious potential drawbacks, including spurring the virus in people who have weakened immune systems, the research notes.

Read more at Penn Medicine.

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