MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Philadelphia based-lab is working on developing a Zika vaccine, and they say the early results seem promising.
“Late fall last year we were watching like everybody else, the epidemic in Brazil and South America,” said Inovio Pharmaceuticals President Dr. Joseph Kim.
Kim teamed up with Dr. David Weiner at Philadelphia’s Wistar Institute to create a safe vaccine to battle the Zika virus.
“We put our best scientists on the program and fast forward nine months, and Inovio had the first Zika vaccine to be approved for the FDA for human testing,” said Kim.
Kim says the vaccine is now being tested in 40 people before being pushed to the Federal Drug Administration for hopeful approval.
What makes this vaccine different is that fact that it is not live. It is fully synthetic and created entirely on a computer.
Dr. Weiner says it basically means the virus will prepare the body if it’s infected with Zika at a later date.
“Like Navy Seals rehearse, they don’t always necessarily shoot somebody – sort of the same thing. We’re rehearsing the immune system, making it able so when they do encounter the real pathogen, they’ll be prepared,” said Weinter.
Weiner says so far the results look promising. Black dots show samples of T cells which grew in vaccinated patients – the same cells that would fight a true Zika infection.