Zika virus vaccine 100% efficient in animal trials

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s ‘killed Zika virus vaccine’ using an African strain has shown 100% efficacy against mortality and disease in animal studies. A ‘killed virus vaccine’ or ‘inactivated vaccine’ contains virus that has been grown in culture and then killed using physical or chemical processes.

About the Study

  • The vaccine was found to confer 100% protection against infection caused by an Asian Zika virus strain as well as by the African Zika virus strain.
  • All the animals that were not vaccinated died eight days after infection by the African strain and 12 days after infection by the Asian strain.
  • While all the animals that received the vaccine exhibited undetectable viral load, the amount of virus present in animals that did not receive the vaccine peaked four days after being infected with either the African or Asian Zika virus strain.
  • The vaccine was developed using the African strain of the virus.

About Zika

  • A member of the virus family Flaviviridae.
  • It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus.
  • Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.
  • Zika virus is related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses.
  • Since the 1950s, it has been known to occur within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia.
  • From 2007 to 2016, the virus spread eastward, across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas, leading to the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic.
  • The infection, known as Zika fever or Zika virus disease, often causes no or only mild symptoms, similar to a very mild form of dengue fever.
  • While there is no specific treatment, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and rest may help with the symptoms.
  • As of 2016, the illness cannot be prevented by medications or vaccines.
  • Zika can spread from a pregnant woman to her baby.
  • This can result in microcephaly, severe brain malformations, and other birth defects and Zika infections in adults may result rarely in Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

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