First Zika vaccine to be tested in humans

Sunday, June 19, 2016 - 20:00

The first human trial of a Zika vaccine will begin soon, Inovio Pharmaceuticals said Monday.

How and when will we get to a Zika vaccine?

Inovio, which is based in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and GeneOne Life Science, which is based in Seoul, South Korea, worked together on the vaccine.

They previously collaborated to create vaccines for Ebola and MERS, both of which are being tested.

The Zika vaccine, with the clinical-sounding name GLS-5700, will first be tested in 40 healthy volunteers.

The first tests in humans should start in the next few weeks, Inovio said in a news release.

In the animal testing stage, the vaccine caused a strong antibody response, the company said.

It is still very early in the vaccine's development.

Phase I of a vaccine trial ensures that it can be tolerated well in human subjects.

If successful in this first round of human testing, it will need additional approval for further testing.

At the next stage, the vaccine would be tested on people who have Zika. 

Then there would be a stage to see how well it works on a larger group of people.

Until recently, Zika had been considered a rare and relatively benign virus.

Currently, there is no vaccine approved to fight it, but about 20 companies have been racing to develop one, according to a World Health Organization representative.