Washington, Feb 7th – A single-dose mRNA-based vaccine shows positive results in the experimental pharmacology against Zika, informed Nature journal through a research published today.
‘We observed rapid and durable protective immunity without adverse events, and so we think this candidate vaccine represents a promising strategy for the global fight against Zika virus,’ said senior author Drew Weissman, MD, PhD.
‘We hope to start clinical trials in 12 to 18 months’ after the preclinical tests in mice and monkeys, informed the also professor of Infectious Disease at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, leaders of this research.
The Zika virus, first identified in 1947 in the Zika Forest in Uganda, reappeared strongly in mid-2015 in Brazil, which prompted the health authorities and scientists around the world to develop candidate vaccines.
In the article, the scientists explain that traditional viral vaccines contain a weakened or killed version of the virus or isolated viral proteins.
By contrast, the new Zika candidate vaccine uses tiny strands of RNA that hold the genetic codes for making viral proteins.
These RNA molecules are modified versions of the so-called messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that normally carry information from genes and serve as blueprints for the making of proteins within cells.
In this case, the mRNAs, produced and purified in a laboratory or biotech production facility, are delivered like a normal vaccine in an injection, they explain.
‘Our work so far suggests that this new vaccine strategy induces a level of virus neutralization about 25 times greater, after a single dose, than one sees in standard vaccines,’ Weissman said.
The mRNA vaccine approach has other advantages, If a vaccine is effective after just a single immunization, the infrastructure needed for its administration can be much simpler, said Weissman.
The production of an mRNA-based vaccine is also likely to be easier and less expensive compared to the traditional virus- or viral protein-based vaccines.’ (Prensa Latina)