New Vaccines May Protect Fetuses Against Zika Virus Infection

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Both vaccines effectively protected baby mice from the Zika virus, but the live-virus vaccine was most effective.
Both vaccines effectively protected baby mice from the Zika virus, but the live-virus vaccine was most effective.

HealthDay News —Two experimental vaccines might help protect human fetuses against the Zika virus, according to a study published in an issue of Cell.

One vaccine -- based on the genetic blueprint for 2 proteins from the virus -- is already being tested in men and in women who are not pregnant. The other vaccine is a live but weakened form of Zika being tested in animals. Researchers gave one of the 2 vaccines or a placebo to female mice. Six days after the mice got pregnant, they were infected with Zika, to mimic the experience of a woman infected in early pregnancy.

Both vaccines effectively protected baby mice from the Zika virus, but the live-virus vaccine was most effective, according to the researchers.

"There are several vaccines in human trials right now, but to date, none of them has been shown to protect during pregnancy. We tested 2 different vaccines, and they both provided substantial protection," co-senior author Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, a professor of molecular microbiology, pathology, and immunology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release.

Reference

Richner JM, Jagger BW, Shan C. Vaccine mediated protection against Zika virus-induced congenital disease. Cell. 2017 Jul 13;170(2):273-283.e12.

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