On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it had approved clinical trials for a vaccine for the Zika virus. Stat News reports that the vaccine, currently called GLS-5700, will begin human testing in the next few weeks.

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Made by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its partner GeneOne Life Sciences Inc., will enroll 40 healthy adult volunteers in the trials. The labs plan to measure both the safety and immune effectiveness of the Zika vaccine. The drug company has had sound results with animal testing, trigging in the vaccinated animals a “robust antibody response.” Results from Inovio’s human testing are expected later this year.

As Stat News notes, the first round of trials doesn’t necessarily reveal whether or not a vaccine is effective. Rather, it’s to determine whether or not it’s safe and how much should be administered to a patient. And, of course, the road from trials to putting a vaccine on the market is a long one. But certainly hope remain high in the development of an effective vaccine against the virus.

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In February, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global health emergency. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that three infants had been born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects. The agency also said that it is tracking 234 Zika infected pregnant women on the mainland as well as 189 in Puerto Rico.


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