Good News from Trio of Phase One Zika Vaccine Trials
In early results published in the Lancet, researchers report that an investigational Zika vaccine was well-tolerated and stimulated
potentially protective immune responses in three phase 1 clinical trials, one of which
was conducted at Saint Louis University. More than 90 percent of study volunteers
in the three trials who received the investigational vaccine demonstrated an immune
response to Zika virus.
Spread primarily by Aedes mosquitoes and also by sexual contact, Zika infection of pregnant women can put babies
at risk of developing microcephaly, characterized by underdeveloped heads and brain
damage, and other serious health issues.
An investigational vaccine against the virus, called ZPIV (Zika Purified Inactivated
Vaccine), was developed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), in
partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),
part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Biomedical Advanced Research
and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Preparedness and Response (ASPR), both at the U.S. Department of Health and Human
The three placebo-controlled, double-blind trials were designed to address different
questions researchers wanted to answer about the immune responses elicited by the
The SLU study continues its enrollment, examining how three different vaccine doses
compare in terms of safety and ability to stimulate an immune response. A trial conducted
by WRAIR is examining the impact of priming the immune system with either a licensed
yellow fever or Japanese encephalitis vaccine followed by ZPIV vaccination. Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is evaluating three dosing schedules of ZPIV.
Principal investigator of the SLU trial Sarah George, M.D., is encouraged by the study
“I’m happy to see our work help make progress toward a vaccine against Zika,” said
George, who is associate professor of infectious diseases, allergy, and immunology
at Saint Louis University. “We need a vaccine to protect people from this emerging
infectious disease that can cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects in babies.”
This work was supported in part by a cooperative agreement (W81XWH-07-2-0067) between
the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc., and
the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). This research was also funded, in part, by NIAID.
SLU’s Center for Vaccine Development is one of nine Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation
Units selected in 2013 by the National Institutes of Health to study vaccines that
aim to protect people from infectious diseases and emerging threats. The project is
funded under Contract No. HHSN272201300021I. The federal government has funded vaccine
research at SLU since 1989. More information about the Zika clinical trial is available
To learn more about the vaccine research being conducted at Saint Louis University,
call (314) 977-6333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction
of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates
physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health
care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new
cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease,
aging and brain disease, and infectious diseases.