fall of 2016, there was a massive outbreak of the Zika virus. The Zika virus
causes major congenital disabilities in the fetuses of pregnant women. The
virus can also cause rashes, joint pain, conjunctivitis, fever, and, in rare
cases, neurologic disorders. The 2016 outbreak shaped a tremendous need to
create a vaccine against the Zika virus. From August 2016 through September
2016, a phase 1 Zika virus vaccine study was conducted. The vaccine was given
to healthy participants ages 18-65. Doses of the vaccine were given at one,
four, and twelve weeks. Participants blood samples were taken at weeks one,
four, eight, twelve, fourteen, twenty, thirty-six and sixty, to study how their
immune systems were handling the vaccine. The results of this study showed that
this vaccine was not faultless but proved that scientists are coming closer to
an effective vaccine.
blood specimens taken from participants were tested for ZIKV-specific binding
antibodies. Four weeks after the first vaccine was administered, ZIKV-specific
binding antibodies were seen in 41% of the participants. The number of
participants who had the ZIKV-specific binding antibody response went up to 74%
in the sixth week. After twelve weeks, 95% of the participants had a
ZIKV-specific binding antibody response, and at week fourteen, every
participant had the ZIKV-specific binding antibodies.
of neutralizing antibody titers were also checked for during the blood test.
The participants immune responses were as follows: at week six, 21% of the
participants had neutralizing antibody titers; at week twelve, 23% of the
participants had neutralizing antibody titers; and at week fourteen, 62% of the
participants had neutralizing antibody titers. At the end of the study, it was revealed
that 70% of the participants had neutralizing antibody titers and showed
inhibition of the Zika virus.
results of this phase 1 Zika virus vaccine demonstrated that 70% of the
participant’s immune systems created neutralizing antibody titers and showed
inhibition of the Zika Virus with minimal side effects. This means that the
participant’s bodies were able to successfully fight off the virus with the
help of the vaccine. Though results were not 100% successful, they are
promising nonetheless. The next step for scientists is to continue studying
this vaccine in a phase 2 trial.
Scientists are on the right track for creating a vaccine against this