(USNEWS) — A potential vaccine for the Zika virus has entered early clinical trials to assess its safety in humans, U.S. health officials announced Wednesday.
The DNA-based vaccine contains genetic pieces of the Zika virus. It is intended to promote an immune response that would protect against the mosquito-borne virus that can cause devastating birth defects, according to a statement from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
"A team of scientists here at NIAID worked tirelessly to rapidly develop this vaccine for clinical testing," Dr. John Mascola, director of NIAID's Vaccine Research Center, said in the statement. "DNA or gene-based vaccines induce antibodies, but they also can activate the cell-mediated immune response, which ultimately could yield strong and durable protection against disease."
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