Inovio the Zika vaccine evokes robust response in the human study

File photo of an employee cover the common area of a public residential area, a new Zika cluster in Singapore

(Copyright Reuters 2016)

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental Zika vaccine induced robust immune responses in an early stage of the study, in human volunteers who are not infected with the virus.

The shares of the company rose by 6.6 percent to $7.39 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

The Zika virus has spread to more than 60 countries and regions, since the current outbreak was detected last year in Brazil, raising alarm about the possibility of the cause of the rare congenital anomaly microcephaly as well as other neurological disorders in children and adults.

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There are no approved vaccines and treatments for the mosquito-borne virus, although a multitude of companies are racing to place a defensive strategy to contain the virus.

Forty volunteers – inclusive of both low – and high-dose groups demonstrated Zika-specific immune response after one or two vaccinations, Inovio said, adding there were no significant safety concerns after 14 weeks from the start of the dosage.

Inovio DNA vaccine is injected together with a short low voltage of the electronic pulse that induces cell membranes to open, which makes them more receptive, in theory, to the acceptance of the vaccine’s genetic material.

The prospect of a blockbuster vaccine has also attracted the interest of major drugmakers, including Sanofi SA, GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.


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