The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has started a series of clinical trials on humans to examine a potential vaccine candidate NIAID hopes can help counter the Zika virus.
NIAID started the trials to evaluate how the vaccine creates an immune system response in more than 80 healthy volunteers that will participate in the trials to be conducted at the Bethesda, Maryland-based National Institues of Health Clinical Center and two other sites, NIH said Wednesday.
The investigational vaccine contains plasmid, a circular piece of DNA engineered to code for proteins of the Zika virus.
“Although it will take some time before a vaccine against Zika is commercially available, the launch of this study is an important step forward,” said Anthony Fauci, NIAID director.
Julie Ledgerwood, chief of the Vaccine Research Center’s clinical trials program, will lead the first phase of the trial that will divide participants into four groups of 20 volunteers each to receive a vaccination via a needle-free injector.
The Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Global Health in Baltimore and Emory University in Atlanta are two other study sites.