The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved the first human trial of Zika vaccine GLS-5700 to forty healthy volunteers, formulated by Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Zika virus outbreak was once become phenomenal because of the disease’s risk mostly for pregnant women that will result in microcephaly, severe brain malformations. and other birth defects.
It was then in January 2016, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel guidance on affected countries including the use of enhanced precautions and guidelines for pregnant women to avoid travelling.
Other governments, health agencies also issued travel warnings while some countries like Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, EL Salvador, and Jamaica advised women to avoid getting pregnant until more is aware about the risks.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which is US-based company is the first to receive approval from FDA to test an experimental ZIka virus vaccine on humans, and they’re going to start the trials in a few weeks time.
“We are proud to have attained the approval to initiate the first Zika vaccine study in human volunteers,” said J. Joseph Kim, president and CEO of US-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals, which is developing the vaccine with South Korean partner, GeneOne Life Science.
“We plan to dose our first subjects in the next weeks and expect to report phase 1 interim results later this year.” Kim added.
The vaccine called GLS-5700 will be managed to 40 heathy volunteers in an effort to immunize people against ZIka virus.
Brazil was once the heaviest affected by Zika virus and the government pushes to go so far as to advise women to avoid pregnancy and reignites debates on abortion for pregnant women who were exposed to the virus at some point in their pregnancy.
GLS-5700 will stimulates the body’s immune system to defend it against the Zika virus. Although the development of the vaccine will bring hope, it is too early to break it all at once. It was successful in animal trials but it does not guarantee safe and effective immunization for humans.
There was another vaccine candidate that uses a specific protein called interferon-induced protein 3 which works by reducing the virus’ ability to infect the brain cells.