WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US allergy and disease institutes launched human clinical trials of an investigational Zika virus vaccine developed earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a press release on Wednesday.
"NIAID [National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases] worked expeditiously to ready a vaccine candidate, and results in animal testing have been very encouraging. We are pleased that we are now able to proceed with this initial study in people," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci stated.
The study is intended to evaluate the vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune system response, according to the NIH. At least 80 healthy adult volunteers are expected to participate in the early-stage clinical trial.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated an emergency response team to the city of Miami, Florida after Governor Rick Scott announced the discovery of 14 new Zika cases in the state since Friday.
The current Zika outbreak started in Brazil in the spring of 2015. The virus is transmitted by daytime-active mosquitoes. While the Zika virus does not cause serious complications in adults, it can cause severe brain defects and microcephaly in newborns.