University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers may have identified a vaccine that would defend against Zika virus without producing antibodies.
Researcher Eric Weaver described the finding as exciting and novel. He and his team are confident that future experiments will yield significant findings that could have profound impact on the field of vaccinology.
Weaver is an assistant professor of biological sciences affiliated with the Nebraska Center for Virology.
Many reports show that antibodies against Zika virus can worsen Dengue virus infection, which, like Zika, is caused by a mosquito-borne virus. This phenomenon is referred to as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of disease. This has been an obstacle to the development of effective and safe Dengue virus vaccines.
“If you have immunity to one of these viruses and get infected by a second one, the illness can be much worse,” Weaver said. “The body makes the wrong immune response.”
Weaver’s team, which includes doctoral students Brianna Bullard and Brigette Corder, have been studying potential Zika vaccines since 2016, shortly after a Zika outbreak in Brazil that was declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization.
Read more at University of Nebraska-Lincoln