A2: (Post 3) Zika Vaccine Progress


Image result for zika virus

Article:  The first live-attenuated vaccine candidate completely protects against  Zika infections

Source: utmb Health

Date: 4/10/17

Link: https://www.utmb.edu/newsroom/article11496.aspx





This Zika vaccine is still being developed and only a short time after the Zika outbreak a vaccine has been developed that can completely protect against the virus. When tested on rats after only one vaccine dose the rats were completely protected. The vaccine was made from an inactive, weakened strain of the Zika virus. The virus was weakened to the point that the virus is safe to use in a vaccine. It was created by deleting a section of the viruses genome. This method has been successful in developing vaccines for other infections. The advantage of using a live virus is that the vaccine can be effective in one dose and last a lifetime. This can be very beneficial for people in countries where the Zika virus is common.


This article really fits in well with the immunology lecture, our ELISA disease tracking lab and the virus section that we learned about a little earlier in the class. Zika can be transmitted through the transfer of blood and other bodily fluids, in our lab we were able to see how diseases like this travel and spread from person to person, which is why it is so important to have a vaccine.  In the virus section that we covered earlier this year we learned how some, very few, viruses can be beneficial while most others are harmful. This article provides examples for how viruses can be useful and harmful. The virus is harmful because it causes a disease but its also helpful because scientists know how to manipulate it to create a vaccine.

Critical Analysis and Questions

I think that the progress that is being made towards producing a vaccine that can protect against the Zika virus is very important. When a virus like this presents itself, spreads quickly, and has the potential to really harm people it is a scary time especially when not much is known about how the virus works/effects people and no vaccine is available yet. I was really surprised to see that so much progress has been made towards producing a vaccine, while reading this article I wondered how long it would take for the vaccine to complete the testing process and be approved by the FDA, how long does that process generally take?

2 Comments for “A2: (Post 3) Zika Vaccine Progress”



Kirsten, what an applicable article! I think you do a great job of connecting the material we are learning and discussing in class to this. I agree that a vaccine for a virus like Zika is important, especially since the CDC is issuing warnings to new places (including parts of the US or US territories) what seems every few weeks or months, as it is spreading quite rapidly. Like you, I also wasn’t aware that researchers had such a promising vaccine in the works. Assuming the vaccine continues to prove to be safe and effective, I hope it progresses to human clinical trials soon. The process by which the FDA approves drugs, especially vaccines, can be time consuming though. This vaccine would receive a lot of attention, but it would (theoretically) still have to undergo the first three phases of clinical trials, which can take years. Some vaccines have to go through the fourth phase of clinical testing, to see how it will react with the general population, but with something as widespread as Zika, I am not sure how the FDA would handle that. However, a vaccine for something like Zika would not be your typical vaccine, and I think the FDA would have to acknowledge that. Very interesting question!



I was so glad when I saw this article because it really hit close to home for me. I had to cancel our cruise plans because the areas we wanted to go has been identified as having cases of Zika and being pregnant that was a No-Go.
To answer your question, I looked on the CDC website and I found that it can take up to 10-15 years to fully complete the process of testing and approval.
They list the developmental steps as:
1)Exploratory stage
2)Pre-clinical stage
3)Clinical development
4)Regulatory review and approval
6)Quality control
Then the Approval steps:
1) An Investigational New Drug application
2) Pre-licensure vaccine clinical trials
3) A Biologics License Application (BLA)
4) Inspection of the manufacturing facility
5) Presentation of findings to FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products 6) 6) Advisory Committee (VRBPAC)
7) Usability testing of product labeling
Seems to be pretty intense!