NIH funds GW University SMHS to facilitate Zika vaccine trial in Brazil

The NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), a division of the National Institute of Health, has reportedly awarded funds worth USD 2 million to a team of researchers working at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) to conduct a Zika vaccine clinical trial in Brazil. The team plans to partner with the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz in Belo Horizonte & Hospital das Clínicas of Brazil to successfully register 100 people on whom clinical tests will be carried out. The trial would, in totality, include 2,400 people across Puerto Rico, south USA, and Central & South America. Researchers will measure the rate of the virus transmission during the clinical study, while the people obtaining the vaccine would be surveyed for a minimum duration of two years.The clinical study would witness researchers focusing on assessing the admissibility and security of the serum along with its operational efficiency over placebo. The antibody used in the testing process by the research group at the George Washington University SMHS has been launched by NIH. The serum also helps in generating a strong antibody response in the human immune system via Zika’s genetic material. Healthcare experts have claimed that the vaccine can be injected in the pregnant women without using the genetic material of the virus as it can pose a risk to the embryo.

The research team at GW detected that the Zika virus is responsible for the congenital Zika syndrome in patients, which unfortunately depicts no discernible symptoms. This might be potentially dangerous in certain cases – for instance, if a pregnant woman is diagnosed with Zika, the infection can cause microencephaly in the child.

Medical experts claim that if the clinical experiments prove to be successful in the endemic regions, the inhabitants can expect better prospects from the new vaccine to successfully evade the Zika virus.