CORRECTED-Zika vaccines prove 100 percent protective in mice; monkey study shows promise

martes 28 de junio de 2016 11:35 GYT

(Corrects headline to read 100 percent)

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO, June 28 (Reuters) - Mice given a single shot of one of two experimental Zika vaccines were completely protected when exposed to the virus one to two months later, a promising sign that similar vaccines under development for humans will protect against Zika, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

"This is an encouraging first step in Zika vaccine design and pre-clinical testing. This new mouse model should be useful for comparative assessments of the large range of vaccine candidates now being designed," said Professor Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University's Jenner Institute, which did not conduct the mouse study but is also developing Zika vaccines.

Separately, U.S. scientists said they have developed a model of the Zika virus in monkeys, a close proxy for human disease.

The studies advance efforts in fighting the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has swept through the Americas and Caribbean since last fall, and has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect, in Brazil, as well as to neurological disorders. On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global health emergency.

"With diseases spread by biting insects, such as Zika, standard quarantine measures are useless, so stopping an outbreak in its tracks requires a vaccine-led approach," said Dr. Derek Gatherer, a lecturer in the division of biomedical and life sciences at Britain's Lancaster University.

In the mouse study, published in the journal Nature, a team led by Dr. Dan Barouch of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, tested two different vaccine candidates in a strain of mice that develops Zika symptoms.

One candidate, a DNA vaccine, was developed by Barouch and colleagues. It contains bits of genetic material from a Zika virus strain from Brazil.   Continuación...