FDA Approves First Test to Detect Zika Virus in Blood Donations

FDA Approves First Test to Detect Zika Virus in Blood Donations

Importantly, serum from the study participants was able to protect immunocompromised mice from developing the disease after infection with Zika virus, indicating that the vaccine-induced antibodies can prevent infection in vivo (inside living tissues).

DNA-based Zika vaccine from Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc and South Korea's GeneOne Life Science Inc induced anti-Zika immune responses in an early stage human trial, US researchers reported on Wednesday.

Each dosage was followed by Cellectra delivery at the site, which generates small, directional electric currents into the skin to facilitate optimal vaccine uptake, production of the intended antigen, and immune responses.

The data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in an article titled, "Safety and Immunogenicity of an Anti-Zika Virus DNA Vaccine" authored by Inovio researchers and collaborators. The researchers then administered a combination of these antibodies to rhesus macaques and exposed the animals to Zika virus one day later. Rather, it's lab-created using genomic Zika fragments, loaded up on to a DNA fragment amenable to humans, inserted into the body, and jolted into cell entry and reproduction via electrical shock.

The DNA-based vaccine was shown to induce high levels of binding antibodies in all 40 patients in the study.

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Tebas further indicated that the formal study will continue for 60 weeks to test the durability of the vaccine response, and final results should be available in the next 2 to 3 months.

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 5530 symptomatic Zika virus cases in the United States reported between January 1, 2015 to October 4, 2017.

Although the test is only meant to screen for the virus in blood donations and not to diagnose individuals, the test will help protect the nation's blood supply, which is vital as the virus can spread through blood transfusions.

Watkins indicated that the ZIKV infection is a severe, existing public health threat to Latin America, the Caribbean, South Florida, and other regions across the globe.

While most people will only have mild symptoms, such as fever, muscle pain and headache, Zika is a much more serious risk for expecting parents because a Zika infection during pregnancy can cause severe brain defects in the baby, namely microcephaly.

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