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June 21, 2016

Human trials of a Zika vaccine just approved

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first human tests of an experimental Zika virus vaccine, the makers of the drug announced on Monday.
Called GLS–5700, the medication will be used in a clinical trial involving 40 healthy people, and represents the first major step towards ultimately immunizing people against Zika – which was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February.
GLS–5700 works by stimulating the body's immune system to defend itself against Zika. Synthetic fragments of viral DNA are injected into the skin, prompting the immune system's T cells to generate antibodies to fight the infection.
It's worth pointing out that just because GLS–5700 has reached human testing, there's no guarantee it will turn out to safely immunize people against Zika. The vaccine has been tested successfully in small and large animal models, but clinical trials in humans could take several years to demonstrate that the treatment is safe, and there's no guarantee it will ultimately prove effective or make it through subsequent testing phases.
GLS–5700 isn't the only Zika vaccine candidate currently in development.It has been reported that at least one company in India and one in France are expected to begin human trials later this year.

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