The Zika virus has been sweeping the globe and posing threats to pregnant woman—could this vaccine be the solution we've been waiting for for months?
The Zika virus is such a new threat, and up until recently, it seemed like the only way to protect yourself—and your unborn children—from the dangers of the virus was by avoiding any areas where it might be spreading. And while protecting yourself against mosquito bites and abiding by the CDC's travel advisories are still very important, there might be another way to ward off Zika's worst side effects.
The virus is spreading through Central and South America and the Caribbean—but could a vaccine be the very thing that puts a stop to the virus?
American pharmaceutical company Inovio has developed a Zika virus vaccine and while there's no definite answer as to whether or not this can keep you Zika-free, it does appear to be working on mice. According to a release from Inovio, the synthetic vaccine has produced "robust and durable" immune responses.
While this vaccine might be the solution we need, it likely won't be widely available anytime soon. "Using our SynCon technology we rapidly generated a synthetic vaccine candidate that shows promise as a preventive and treatment. With robust antibody and killer T cell responses generated by our vaccine in mice, we will next test the vaccine in non-human primates and initiate clinical product manufacturing. We plan to initiate phase I human testing of our Zika vaccine before the end of 2016," J. Joseph Kim, Ph.D., Inovio's president and CEO, said in a release from the company.
Inovio isn't the only group trying to create an effective Zika virus. There are at least 15 other organizations trying to do the same thing, according to Reuters.
In addition to this possible solution, there are a few other protection strategies at work. For one thing, the FDA has recommended a ban on blood transfusions in areas with outbreaks and has suggested that anyone who may have been exposed to the virus refrain from donating blood. The World Health Organization is also working to raise $56 million to fight the virus.