Updated
September 25th, 2019

Zika Vaccine Candidate Leverages Yellow Fever Vaccine

Yellow fever-Zika chimeric virus vaccine candidate protects against Zika infection and congenital malformations in mice

pregnant lady

Scientists at the KU Leuven Rega Institute say in a press release that ‘they have developed a new vaccine candidate against the Zika virus.’ 

This is important news since a recent study reported that 14.5 percent of children exposed to the Zika virus during their mother’s pregnancy displayed at least 1 medical issue related to vision, hearing, language, motor skill, or cognitive function. 

According to this new mice study, these researchers ‘replaced a piece of the genetic information of the yellow fever vaccine with the corresponding code of the Zika virus.’ 

‘To engineer the vaccine, we used a new technology that we’d developed earlier in our lab and that makes it possible to produce the vaccine in fermenters instead of in fertilized chicken eggs.’ 

‘Another important advantage is that the vaccine remains stable, even at high temperatures. This makes a world of difference for a vaccine that is also intended for use in the most remote corners of tropical and subtropical areas.” 

“The vaccine was administered to female mice and, when these mice were a few days pregnant, the Zika virus was injected into their placenta.’ 

‘The pups of vaccinated mothers developed normally and the virus also couldn't be found in their brains or other organs.” 

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Dr. Kai Dallmeier said in the press release, “We now intend to further develop the vaccine, which could then be used to quickly and effectively vaccinate the population in case of a new outbreak of the Zika virus.” 

The Zika virus disease is caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). 

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, and many people do not have symptoms or will have only mild symptoms, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   

There is a strong global initiative to prevent the Zika virus, with more than 30 vaccine candidates currently in clinical studies, such as:

This new study was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 733176 (RABYD-VAX consortium), No 734584 (ZikaPLAN) and No 734548 (ZIKAlliance).