The Zika Virus Vaccine Marathon

There is a race to find a vaccine for the zika virus pandemic; there are teams all around the world desperately trying to find the treatment for this worldwide spread. This amazing movement of these scientist trying any direction they can to find a vaccine will be on for the books.

There are many different approaches on how scientist can make a vaccine some being more riskier than others, I am going educate you about three different categories of vaccine types that are interesting and take different approaches from one another. I will also share their progress points that they are in at today time, to show where scientist are in the exploration to help millions of people all over the world.

Image From Google Images

The first category of vaccine type is being worked on by many scientists teams, two of which are Takeda and Walter Reed. The base of their vaccine is to use a dead (inactivated) virus, this is how polio, influenza, typhoid, and cholera vaccines are made, making this way of vaccine production safe for human use. A statement from The Race for a Zika Vaccine on The New York Times mentioned “Walter Reed’s candidate entered early clinical trials in this month.” And Sanofi a pharmaceutical company has given the okay for this product to go onto the market. The only negative outcome from making a vaccine of this type is that it can take a long time to produce and perfect sometimes up to ten years.

The next category of a vaccine is a more recent new approach; a team of scientist at the N.I.H are making a DNA vaccine, which is a manufactured non toxic piece of DNA from the virus (zika) made by scientist. The vaccine will be injected into human bodies and the man made DNA will tell our bodies to make zika proteins. In the same New York Time article as above it states “Those proteins then assemble themselves into harmless virus like particles that trick the body into developing antibodies that can fight the disease if it arrives.” This version of the vaccine is expected to start testing any time now. The downside of a DNA vaccine is that it is not approved for human use yet. DNA vaccines have been made for other viruses but have shown to be not effevtive since not all the DNA reaches the nucleus of a cell every time, without the DNA reaching the nucleus the body cannot start to produce the proteins making the vaccine powerless. Vaccines are already being tested in Latin America, since December is the hottest of their summer.

The last vaccine I will be mentioning is being worked on by GlaxoSmithKline and Moderna Therapeutics. A statement from a The New York Time post linked above said “companies are trying a similar method that uses RNA, a molecule in the body that is more flexible than DNA.” RNA carries the same instructions that a DNA would carry in a vaccine.The difference between this vaccine and the DNA vaccine is that the RNA vaccine does not have to enter the nucleus of a cell in order to make the body produce proteins to fight off the virus. This vaccine method is still in their beginning phase.

There are many reasons why scientist want to produce the best vaccine for the zika virus spread some companies are doing it for money, others may be doing it to bring a name to their company, and many are doing it to save lives. No matter what the reason is for it is a race for who can make this vaccine first which is not a bad thing in my eyes. I cannot wait to see how fast this vaccine is made, that will save so many lives all over the world from its horrible side effects on fetuses. We hope to see a vaccine as quick as 2018.



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