06 February 2017 Current Affairs: According to recent study, an innovative vaccine made from genetic material protected lab animals from the Zika virus in experiments.
A single, low dose of the vaccine shielded mice exposed to Zika five months after the shot. Even monkeys exposed five weeks after they were innoculated were also not affected by the virus.
The new vaccine is based on a modified version of genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA). It is designed to pass under the radar of the immune system and enter directly into human cells.
Once there, RNA vaccine is incorporated into the cell’s protein-making machinery, it mimics the action of a live virus vaccine building up an immune response. It can be delivered into the blood stream by fat-based nanoparticles.
It can be injected just below the skin and is thus easy to administer. RNA-based vaccines are non-replicating, i.e. they cannot integrate into the host’s genetic blueprint. It overcomes safety concern that comes with live-virus vaccines.
Zika virus had erupted on a large scale in mid-2015 in which more than 1.5 million people were infected, mostly in Brazil and other countries in South America.
The virus is transmitted mainly by mosquitos. It causes mild, flu-like symptoms in most people, pregnant women run the risk of giving birth to babies with severe brain damage.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared a global health emergency in February 2016, and declared it over in November 2016.
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