In Central Massachusetts, we love to hear about progress being made against tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. Today we get to report that the fight against the Zika Virus has hit a major milestone with FDA approval for a Zika vaccine to be tested on humans.
According to NBC News, a private company named Inovio has gotten the green light for the first human trials of a Zika vaccine. The vaccine uses “synthetic pieces of DNA” along with a new delivery system that uses a pulse of electricity to encourage immune cells to take the vaccine better.
The first human tests of the Zika vaccine will be conducted in the next few weeks with reporting coming out later in the year. The vaccine has already been tested on monkeys. It produced an immune response that “should protect against infection.” While the news is fantastic, especially for pregnant mothers, the CEO of Inovio, J. Joseph Kim says that the first phase of human trials usually doesn’t provide much in the way of proving the vaccine works, but is more about proving safety.
There are also other government sponsored Zika vaccines in development that will be following this one into human trials within a few months. While experts expect having a vaccine go to market could still be years away, this first step into human trials is a big one. They also are encouraged by the number of vaccine varieties that will be going to human trials soon. With more being tested, finding the one that works and is safe should happen that much sooner.
We are committed to providing you the best information for staying up-to-date on the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses in the Central Massachusetts area. Stay tuned for the latest local mosquito news. Don’t forget, to limit the population of mosquitoes on your property, follow the 5Ts of mosquito control.