A single-dose mRNA-based vaccine shows positive results in experimental pharmacology against zika, according to research published today in the journal Nature. We observed a rapid and lasting protective immunity without adverse events. We think this vaccine candidate is a promising strategy in the fight against the Zika virus, said Drew Weissman, lead author of the study.
We expect to begin clinical trials in the next 12 to 18 months, following preclinical studies in mice and monkeys, also predicts the infectious disease professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, leaders of this research.
The Zika virus, first identified in 1947 in the Zika Forest in Uganda, reappeared strongly in mid-2015 in Brazil and since then the health authorities are looking for a vaccine to combat it, in addition to the mosquito prevention efforts transmitter.
In the article, scientists explain that traditional viral vaccines contain an attenuated or dead version of the virus or isolated viral proteins.
This, on the contrary, uses small strands of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that contain the genetic codes to make the viral proteins. These molecules are modified versions of so-called messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that carry information from genes and serve to make proteins inside cells.
In this case, mRNAs, produced and purified in a laboratory or a biotech production plant, are administered as a normal vaccine by injection, they explain. Our work suggests that this new vaccine strategy induces a level of virus neutralization approximately 25-fold higher, after a single dose, compared to traditional doses, Weissman said.
The mRNA drug method has other advantages, he said. If a vaccine is effective after a single immunization, the infrastructure needed to administer it will be much simpler. Their production is also easier and less expensive, compared to traditional immunizations based on viruses or proteins of this type, he said.