Experimental Zika vaccines shots given to mice in Chicago were completely protected when exposed to the virus one to two months later. According to Professor Adrian Hill, “This is an encouraging first step in Zika vaccine design and pre-clinical testing. This new mouse model should be useful for comparative assessments of the large range of vaccine candidates now being designed."
And U.S. scientists on their part said, they have developed a model of the Zika virus in monkeys, a close proxy for human disease. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin reported onyesterday that they have successfully infected rhesus macaques with an Asian strain of the Zika virus that is currently circulating in the Americas. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that monkeys - which have immune responses similar to humans - can be used to study Zika.
In the study, David O'Connor and colleagues inoculated eight rhesus macaques - including two pregnant monkeys - with a strain of Zika virus currently circulating in the Americas.
All eight animals were infected. Tests showed viral particles in their blood, saliva, urine and spinal fluid. All animals stayed infected for at least 21 days, and some remained infected for at least 57 days.
A second exposure to Zika 10 weeks after the first did not make the animals sick, suggesting that antibodies developed by the monkeys protected them against a second case of Zika. This is a promising sign that humans may similarly be able to develop protective antibodies against the virus.
Mosquito-borne Zika virus has swept through the Americas and Caribbean linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect, in Brazil, as well as to neurological disorders. On February 1st 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global health emergency.