Results from two Phase 1 clinical trials show an experimental Zika vaccine developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is safe and induces an immune response in healthy adults. The findings were published online on December 4, 2017 in The Lancet. The article is titled “Zika Virus DNA Vaccine Candidates Are Safe and Immunogenic in Healthy Adults.” NIAID is currently leading an international effort to evaluate the investigational vaccine in a Phase 2/2b safety and efficacy trial. "Following early reports that Zika infection during pregnancy can lead to birth defects, NIAID scientists rapidly created one of the first investigational Zika vaccines using a DNA-based platform and began initial studies in healthy adults less than one year later," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD. "NIAID has begun Phase 2 testing of this candidate to determine if it can prevent Zika virus infection, and the promising Phase 1 data published today support its continued development." Investigators from NIAID's Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and Laboratory of Viral Diseases, part of the Division of Intramural Research, developed the investigational vaccine, which includes a small, circular piece of DNA called a plasmid. Scientists inserted genes into the plasmid that encode two proteins found on the surface of the Zika virus. After the vaccine is injected into muscle, the body produces proteins that assemble into particles that mimic the Zika virus and trigger the body to mount an immune response.
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