The FDA Has Approved the First Zika Vaccine for Human Testing

It's the first and only Zika vaccine to enter this phase of testing.

An experimental Zika vaccine is one step closer to solving what the World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency.

Human trials (approved by the Food and Drug Administration) are set to begin in the coming weeks, The Washington Post reports.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the vaccine, will conduct tests on 40 healthy subjects and expects the results to be released later this year, according to a statement from the company.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The vaccine works by introducing artificial materials into the body that mimic the virus, thus preparing the immune system to fight Zika, according to NBC News. So far, Inovio has tested the vaccine on animals, which successfully developed antibodies and immune-system cells to attack the virus and prevent infection.

Although the public is still months or even years away from seeing an effective Zika vaccine enter the market, the Inovio vaccine is the furthest along in the process. The National Institutes of Health is also developing a Zika vaccine by replacing genetic material from its West Nile virus vaccine, but it is behind Inovio in the process.

Most Popular

There is currently no treatment, cure, nor vaccine for Zika. The virus is spread through mosquito bites as well as infected semen, and in most people causes a short, mild illness with symptoms such as a fever or joint pain. The greatest concern about Zika is that it can cause severe birth defects in newborn babies, including microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with an abnormally small head.

Read Next: