The Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit at Baylor College of Medicine has been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health to  lead a study of people infected with Zika virus to better understand the infection and the immune responses following infection. The study will help inform diagnostic and infection control measures, as well as Zika vaccine development.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Baylor has been awarded more than $1 million for the project; the other two sites in the study include Emory University School of Medicine and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

“When a virus starts affecting new populations that we have not seen in the past, it’s important to understand how people can be protected and what types of diseases can occur,” said Dr. Shital Patel, assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor and principal investigator for the study. “Through this study we will be able to determine how our body protects itself from this virus and how long this virus lasts in certain parts of our body. This research will help develop vaccines and other control measures that will help protect people in the future.”

Baylor and Emory will enroll about 200 volunteers for the study, and all three sites will conduct laboratory research.

Study volunteers who are suspected or confirmed to be infected with Zika virus will provide blood and other samples for testing the body’s immune response to Zika infection. Participants must be first referred through their physicians or the health departments before volunteering.

Read more at Baylor College of Medicine