The mosquito-borne Zika virus is a huge concern in Latin America right now, and has been circulating the news for a while now. This outbreak hit countries in Latin America especially hard, as there were thousands of babies born with microcephaly (underdeveloped brain) this year as a result of the disease. Government agencies and biotech companies have been scrambling to develop a vaccine for this deadly disease.
Recently, Inovio Pharmaceuticals started a Phase I clinical trial of their vaccine. Inovio’s DNA-based vaccine was able to confer protection against the Zika virus on 100 percent of animals which were administered the vaccination. This preclinical study also found that the vaccine prevented the Zika-associated degeneration in the hippocampal and cerebral cortex regions of brain, compared to infected animals who were not given the vaccine.