NIH to test Zika vaccine on humans — 5 things to know

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of National Institutes of Health, is starting a clinical trial of a vaccine aimed at preventing Zika virus.

Here are five things to know:

1. During the clinical trials, researchers will assess the vaccine's safety and whether it causes an immune response in study participants. Nearly 80 health volunteers will participate in the study taking place at three U.S. sites.

2. The experimental vaccine is comprised of a plasmid equipped with genes that code Zika virus proteins.  

3. Julie E. Ledgerwood, DO, chief of NIAID's Vaccine Research Center's clinical trails program, will lead the Phase 1 clinical trial. Participants will receive a vaccination during their first visit and half of participants will get an additional vaccination between eight weeks and 12 weeks after the initial injection.

4. The remaining 50 percent of participants will be split into two groups, with one group receiving a second vaccine at week four and a third vaccination at week eight. The other 20 participants will receive a second vaccine at week four and a third vaccination at week 20. The dosing for all vaccination will be the same.

5. Researchers will monitor participants for at least 30 minutes after every vaccination to ensure they are not having any adverse reactions. Researchers will conduct follow-up visits within a 44-week time frame after the initial vaccination.

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