A Zika Virus Vaccine
The Zika virus crept up on the unsuspecting world population this past year, causing widespread panic, but there may be hope in a possible vaccine for the virus. According to experts a Zika virus vaccine may be available for initial testing on people within the next year. How are scientists able to develop one so quickly? Scientists already have a basis to work from. The Zika virus is conveniently a close relative of two other deadly viruses, dengue fever and West Nile virus. Experts already have an existing vaccine platform to jump off from.
The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are currently working on two different approaches to a Zika virus vaccine. The first approach involves a DNA based vaccine, which was used for West Nile virus. Scientists take a piece of DNA from the germ and use it to stimulate the immune system. The other approach involves creating a “live” vaccine. In this approach scientists take an actual virus that is damaged, so it cannot cause an infection, and inject it into a person in order to train the immune system to be able to recognize the actual virus if it is contracted.
Would you get the Zika virus vaccine if it were available? What approach do you think sounds the most promising?