New arbovirus vaccine may suggest hope for Zika virus vaccine

The journal Science Translational Medicine recently published a trial of a new dengue virus vaccine developed at the National Institute of Health. The World Health Organization estimates that about 1/2 of the world’s population live in areas at risk of the dengue virus, currently infecting an estimated 390 million people each year. Dengue is an arbovirus, a classification of viruses transmitted by mosquitoes.

In the study, 21 volunteers were given the vaccine and all were protected against the dengue virus, while all 20 of those given the placebo were infected.

Of note, the Zika virus is also an arbovirus. All vaccines are different, and there is not a direct read through from this recent data to a specific Zika vaccine. Even so, progress on developing a vaccine for one arbovirus suggests to me there is promise for the development of arbovirus vaccines in general. A Zika vaccine is still almost certainly a few years away, but it is likely to become a reality.

 

Sources: Dengue and Severe dengue (World Health Organization); The live attenuated dengue vaccine TV003 elicits complete protection against dengue in a human challenge model (Science Translational Medicine)

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