The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center is one of three U.S. sites conducting a clinical trial for a new Zika vaccine.
"It's a DNA vaccine that encodes two proteins of the Zika virus, and it'll be tested in four different groups of human volunteers,” says Dr. Sri Edupuganti, an infectious disease physician and medical director of the Hope Clinic.
The trial is in its first phase, which will focus on the vaccine's safety and see whether humans develop an immune response to the virus.
The vaccine is a circular piece of DNA that contains proteins from the Zika virus.
"When it's given to a person, and it’s inside a cell, the person's machinery transcribes the DNA into proteins, and those proteins are seen by our immune system,” Edupuganti says. “The immune system makes an immune response, which includes antibodies to the proteins."
The trial is in its first phase, which will focus on the vaccine’s safety and an immunity. Results for Phase I are expected by January.
After more than a dozen cases of Zika were diagnosed in Miami recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning for the area for pregnant women and their partners.