Zika : a new vaccine in development

Health 15 August, 2017


Published the 14.08.2017 to 12h59


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Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine against the virus, Zika. The treatment is based on symptom management, in particular by taking painkillers. To combat the epidemic, many laboratories have set out in search of a vaccine.

For now, no one has officially seen the light of day, and those in development include a lack of efficacy, or adverse effects. But a team from the university of state of Arizona (ASU), declares to have solved these two problems.

More effective, safer, less expensive

“Our vaccine is safer, potentially less expensive to produce than the other, and efficacy at least as important,” said Qiang Chen, professor in molecular biology at ASU, a specialist in vaccines, and at the head of the team that developed this new vaccine.

Professor Chen has already worked on the virus Zika and those of the same family flavavirus, such as dengue or west Nile virus. He is well acquainted with its structure, and its envelope is composed of three distinct parts.

A problem with dengue fever

“The domain III has a DNA signature specific to Zika, which we have exploited to produce a robust immune response and efficient, but only for Zika,” he continued. Other vaccines, for other parts of the virus, are less specific. It’s a bit as if to find a criminal, the police would be looking for a silhouette lean with the legs 1.10 m, rather than a face.

This lack of specificity has consequences on the management of dengue virus, with which it shares many characteristics. This results in reactions that are more important to the dengue fever in individuals immunized with the vaccine anti-Zika existing. The vaccine from the Pr Chen would have solved this problem.