A clinical-stage biotechnology company announced today good news regarding its Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine candidate, which was recently found very effective in a preclinical study.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued GeoVax Labs Inc. a Notice of Allowance for Patent Application No. 17/000,768 titled, "Method for Generating a ZIKV Immune Response Utilizing a Recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara Vector Encoding the NS1 Protein."
The claims to be granted in the patent cover GeoVax's MVA vector comprising a nucleic acid sequence encoding a ZIKV nonstructural (NS1) protein, of which the GEO-ZM02 vaccine candidate is designed.
"Our novel Zika vaccine, GEO-ZM02, is constructed using our modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector platform," stated GeoVax CEO David Dodd in a press release on January 25, 2023.
"Preclinical studies demonstrated a single dose of GEO-ZM02 provided 100% protection against a lethal dose of Zika virus."
"Addressing many of the world's most threatening infectious diseases is part of our vision and corporate priorities for MVA's applications, including an MVA-based next-generation COVID-19 vaccine currently in Phase 2 clinical trials."
With an outstanding safety record, MVA has great potential to address the unmet need to vaccinate women of childbearing age and newborns against ZIKV.
A pathogen endemic in various areas of the world, ZIKV is linked to an increase in infant microcephaly and neurodegenerative disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, in adults.
Numerous public health officials recommend avoiding exposure to ZIKV, delaying pregnancy, and following basic supportive care (fluids, rest, and acetaminophen) after infection.
GEO-ZM02 is designed to function through the induction of T-cell responses rather than antibodies to eliminate the risk of Antibody Dependent Enhancement, a serious side effect observed in flavivirus infections when an individual does not have a fully protective immune response from vaccination or a previous infection that causes a more serious disease if infected.
ZIKV is a member of the Flaviviridae family, which includes other significant pathogens such as dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile viruses.
GeoVax Labs, Inc. is developing novel therapies and vaccines for cancers and many of the world's most threatening infectious diseases.
As of January 25, 2023, the U.S. FDA has not approved a Zika prevention vaccine.
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