New Vaccine Undergoes Tests For Zika Protection, Prevention Of Malaria, West Nile And Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald February 23, 04:00 am

A new vaccine is being tested and it is said to be not only for protection from Zika but also other mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria, West Nile virus, dengue fever and similar diseases might no longer be a problem for the people in the future.

UPI reported researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are testing the said vaccine, which is said to target the mosquito saliva in an attempt to not let the person get infected with whatever disease the mosquito carries. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under the NIH launched the Phase 1 clinical trial of the vaccine, also called AGS-v.

The vaccine was created by a London-based pharmaceutical company SEEK. The vaccine was designed to trigger an immune response to mosquito saliva.

It was made up of the four synthetic proteins from the salivary glands of mosquitoes. It was also designed to induce antibodies in the person who was vaccinated. The antibodies will cause a modified allergic response to prevent the spread of the disease in a person's body.

NIAID director, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, said in a statement mosquitoes cause more human disease and death than any other animal and the vaccine should be capable of protecting people against the many mosquito-borne diseases. He noted if the vaccine will be proven successful, it would be a breakthrough in public health.

Some 60 people in ages 18 to 50 signed up for the trial, NBC News reported. The trial population will be divided into three groups.

The first group will get the shot twice at 21 days apart while the second group will also get two shots of the vaccine plus an adjuvant of oil mixed with water, also at 21 days apart. As for the third group, two shots will also be given to them at 21 days apart but instead of an oil-water mixture, the vaccine will have placebos of sterile water.

After the 21 days, the sample population will be exposed to biting mosquitoes that do not have diseases or any virus in a controlled environment. The mosquitoes involved in the first trial will also be examined to see if there are changes in their life span.

It is believed if these mosquitoes will bite people with the vaccine, earlier death or the inability to reproduce might be the effects. The first phase of the trial is expected to be completed by summer of next year.

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