Nav: Home

Vaccine candidates protect primates against Zika virus

August 04, 2016

BOSTON - A month after announcing that two promising vaccine candidates provided mice with complete protection against the Zika virus, a research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in collaboration with scientists at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the University of São Paulo, now reports achieving complete protection against Zika virus in rhesus monkeys. The research team's findings were published online today in the journal Science.

This week Florida officials confirmed that fourteen people have contracted the Zika virus in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, the first-known mosquito-borne transmission in the continental United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that pregnant women avoid these areas, which is the first time in history that is has recommended avoiding travel to regions within the continental United States. Because Zika infection in pregnant women has been shown to lead to fetal microcephaly and other major birth defects, developing a safe vaccine is an urgent global health priority.

"Three vaccines provided complete protection against Zika virus in nonhuman primates, which is the best animal model prior to starting clinical trials," said senior author Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Steering Committee Member at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. "The consistent and robust protection against Zika virus in both rodents and primates fuels our optimism about the development of a safe and effective Zika vaccine for humans."

Vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to develop defenses against the virus. The researchers tested three means of producing Zika immunity in rhesus monkeys: a purified inactivated virus (PIV) vaccine developed by Army researchers at WRAIR and a plasmid DNA vaccine and an adenovirus vector-based vaccine produced at BIDMC. All three platforms proved strikingly effective, and no adverse effects were observed.

To test the PIV vaccine, scientists immunized eight rhesus monkeys with inactivated Zika virus and eight monkeys with a sham vaccine. Within two weeks, the animals' immune systems produced antibodies against the virus. After a booster shot at four weeks, the antibody levels increased substantially. When these animals were exposed to two strains of infectious Zika virus from Brazil and Puerto Rico, they showed complete protection against the virus, with no detectable Zika virus in the blood or other bodily secretions.

In a second experiment, 12 rhesus monkeys were immunized with either a DNA vaccine or an adenovirus vector-based vaccine. These types of vaccines introduce only a fragment of Zika virus DNA coding for the Zika virus' outer coat into the body. These vaccines led the immune system to develop antibodies. In this study, both vaccines produced Zika-specific antibodies in all primates tested, with the adenovirus vector-based vaccine provoking a broader and a more potent antibody response. When the primates were exposed to the Brazilian strain of Zika virus, both vaccines provided complete protection. These data suggest that clinical trials for these Zika virus vaccine candidates should proceed as quickly as possible.
-end-
Study coauthors include the following members of the Barouch Laboratory at BIDMC: Peter Abbink (co-first author), Rafael A. Larocca (co-first author), Christine A. Bricault, Edward T. Moselyey, Michael Boyd, Marinela Kirilova, Zhenfeng Li, David Ng'ang'a, Ovini Nanayakkara, Ramya Nityanandam, Noe B. Mercado, Erica N. Borducchi, Arshi Agarwal, Amanda L. Brinkman, Crystal Cabral, Abishek Chandrashekar, Patricia B. Giglio, David Jetton, Jessica Jimenez, Benjamin C. Lee, Shanell Mojta, Katherine Malloy, Mayuri Shetty, George H. Neubauer, and Katherine E. Stephenson.

Coauthors from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research include Rafael A. De La Barrera, Kayvon Modjarrad, Richard G. Jarman, Kenneth H. Eckels, Nelson L. Michael and Stephen J. Thomas. Coauthors from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, include Jean Pierre S. Peron and Paolo M. De A. Zanotto.

This work was funded by grants from the U.S. Military Research and Materiel Command and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program through its cooperative agreement with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (W81XWH-11-2-0174); the National Institutes of Health (AI095985, AI096040, AI100663, AI124377); the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP 2011/18703-2, 2014/17766-9).

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit http://www.bidmc.org.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Related Immune System Articles:

Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.
Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.
How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.
Immune system upgrade
Theoretically, our immune system could detect and kill cancer cells.
Using the immune system as a defence against cancer
Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence.
First impressions go a long way in the immune system
An algorithm that predicts the immune response to a pathogen could lead to early diagnosis for such diseases as tuberculosis
Filming how our immune system kill bacteria
To kill bacteria in the blood, our immune system relies on nanomachines that can open deadly holes in their targets.
Putting the break on our immune system's response
Researchers have discovered how a tiny molecule known as miR-132 acts as a 'handbrake' on our immune system -- helping us fight infection.
Decoding the human immune system
For the first time ever, researchers are comprehensively sequencing the human immune system, which is billions of times larger than the human genome.
Masterswitch discovered in body's immune system
Scientists have discovered a critical part of the body's immune system with potentially major implications for the treatment of some of the most devastating diseases affecting humans.
More Immune System News and Immune System Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.