Zika Breaking News

Zika breaking news brought to you by Zika News.

Oct 13, 2020 • 8:09 am CDT

UK-based Enesi Pharma and The University of Adelaide announced on September 22, 2020, that they are collaborating to accelerate the development of a novel needle-free vaccine for the Zika virus (ZIKV). This project will utilize a protective Zika virus DNA vaccine developed by the University of Adelaide, with Enesi Pharma’s ImplaVax technology.

The technology delivers a thermostable single solid dose implant containing the vaccine through the skin and into the tissue, without using a needle. Once inserted, the implant dissolves, releasing the active ingredient over time and inducing the desired immune response.

The University of Adelaide researchers will progress the pre-clinical work necessary to take the Zika vaccine to Phase 1 clinical trials. This work will be undertaken in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harvard University, and the Duke-National University of Singapore.

Oct 12, 2020 • 3:18 pm CDT

A new study published by PLOS on October 2, 2020, stated 'although the number of Zika virus (ZIKV) cases has declined following the 2015–2016 outbreak in the Americas, ZIKV remains a public health concern due to the potentially severe consequences of in utero exposure to the virus.'

Based on the current evidence available, these researchers said 'the clinical presentation of ZIKV infection in adolescents appears to be primarily mild and similar to the presentation in adults, with rare instances of severe complications and/or mortality. However, reliable estimation of the risks of ZIKV complications in these age groups is limited by the scarcity and quality of published data.'

The U.S. CDC states: There is no current local transmission of Zika virus in the continental United States, including Florida and Texas. But, Zika virus cases continue to be reported in Puerto Rico during 2020.

Sep 5, 2020 • 7:46 am CDT

England-based Enesi Pharma announced on September 3, 2020, its partnership with the University of Adelaide to develop a new thermostable, solid dose DNA vaccine for the Zika virus to prevent infection of pregnant women and the resultant congenital effects in unborn children. No date for launching a phase 1 study was announced.

DNA and RNA vaccines present important thermostability challenges and require an uninterrupted end-to-end cold chain throughout to maintain potency up to the point of administration. Enesi’s ImplaVax® technology aims to address these challenges by creating needle-free, solid dose vaccines, that are thermally stable at temperatures up to 40oC and eliminate the need for cold-chain storage and distribution.

Sep 5, 2020 • 7:36 am CDT

In some cases, a Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy leads to a series of severe defects in the fetus collectively known as congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), which includes microcephaly, defective neuronal migration, and impaired cortical development. These researchers from Brazil compared brain tissue from babies who died from CZS with tissue samples from babies that died from other causes.

study published on June 9, 2020, by Aguiar et al. combined genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic analyses of blood and postmortem brains and demonstrated that ZIKV-infected neonates showed a reduction in collagen expression and an increase in adhesion factor expression, alterations in the extracellular matrix consistent with the brain defects seen in CZS. Together, these datasets form a useful resource for those investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying CZS in humans.

'The Zika outbreak began in 2015, and only now do we have these results. Scientific research cannot be performed overnight. I know everyone wants answers quickly, but the fact is that if you speed up the process artificially, you risk getting bad science," said these researchers in a press statement on September 3, 2020.

Medical Review by
Aug 31, 2020 • 2:32 am CDT

This study published in The Lancet on August 26, 2020, reports that clinical Zika virus cases with severe malformations of the rhombencephalon and reduced total brain volume have a higher chance of also showing pathological brain activity, including epileptiform discharges and reduced sleep-related oscillations. And, infants with Zika-derived microcephaly commonly present irritable behavior, which may develop into subclinical and clinical seizures.

This new study suggests 'identifying signs with predictive power over clinical evolution can help the physician to determine better treatment and, consequently, prognosis.'

Aug 28, 2020 • 3:05 pm CDT

The WHO published interim guidelines on the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus in September 2016, based on a limited amount of evidence under an emergency process during a public health emergency of international concern. Since then, the body of scientific evidence has grown considerably.

You can download this new document, which was published on June 15, 2020, at this WHO link.

Aug 27, 2020 • 8:15 am CDT

The State of California Health Agency reported a very positive, downward trend in travel-related Zika virus cases on August 1, 2020. Through the first 6-months of 2020, California has only reported (2) Zika cases. This data compares with 2019 when (41) Zika cases were confirmed in California. And in 2018, when (68) cases were confirmed.

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