Research

Zika Vaccine Protects Fetus Against Infection and Birth Defects in Mice

When given during pregnancy, the Zika vaccine protects unborn fetus against infection and birth defects.


re_7h1a0614mosquito Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus, in a laboratory at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
By Donna Ramirez | July 13, 2017

Immunizing female mice with a Zika vaccine can protect their developing fetus from infection and birth defects during pregnancy, according to new research from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The findings are now available in Cell.

Although rapid and promising progress on developing vaccines has been made with animal models, the UTMB study is the first to demonstrate that potential vaccines could protect a fetus from the Zika virus.

“In the study, we were the first to show that two different potential vaccines given to the mother prevent the Zika virus from infecting the fetus during pregnancy in a mouse model,” said UTMB’s Pei-Yong Shi, senior author and the I.H. Kempner professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “Based on these data, we believe that evaluating the vaccines’ ability to prevent birth defects in humans is warranted.”

While a Zika infection typically results in mild or symptom-free infections in healthy adults and children, the risk of microcephaly and other diseases in a developing fetus is an alarming consequence that has created a worldwide health threat. Pregnant women who are infected with the Zika virus but never display any disease symptoms may still give birth to a baby with microcephaly.

Female mice were vaccinated against Zika with one of the two developing vaccines prior to becoming pregnant and then exposed to the virus during their pregnancies. Shi and colleagues found the vaccinated pregnant mice showed little or no evidence of the virus in the mothers’ body including the placenta or in the fetuses’ bodies.

“Having a Zika vaccine that can protect pregnant women and their unborn babies would improve public health efforts to avoid birth defects and other effects of the disease in regions where Zika is circulating,” Shi said.

Other authors include UTMB’s Chao Shan, Camila Fontes, Bruno Nunes, Daniele Medeiros, Antonio Muruato, Huanle Luo, Tian Wang, Alan Barrett, Scott Weaver and Shannan Rossi; Justin Richner, Brett Jagger, Bin Cao, Elizabeth Caine and Indira Mysorekar from Washington University School of Medicine; Kimberly Dowd, Bryant Foreman and Theodore Pierson from the National Institutes of Health; Sunny Himansu and Giuseppe Ciaramella from Valeria LLC, a Moderna Venture as well as Pedro Vasconcelos from Evandro Chagas Institute, Ministry of Health, Parå State University, Brazil.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advances Research Projects Agency, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the March of Dimes, Moderna, UTMB, The University of Texas System, the Pan American Health Organization, the Ministry of Health of Brazil, the Brazilian Agency for Scientific and Technological Development and the Coordination of Professionals of High Level Degree of Ministry of Education of Brazil.

Tags | Research



Social Posts

profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Employers answer the call at Mayor’s Challenge conference to help prevent suicide https://t.co/4SqzgOFWNj via #VAntagePoint

12 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Dr. Hugo Bellen and his lab are looking into the fruit fly's genes to find the ones that cause neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disorders. https://t.co/Q9iZDBraWs #research @BCMFomtheLabs

12 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

It was great to see some of the #ManyFacesOfUTHealth working together yesterday at the @UTHealthCIPC mass casualty simulation drill to improve their skill sets and elevate their training! https://t.co/8SD8ipgbUO #collaboration #healthcare

12 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTCVSurgery: The @UTHealth @McGovernMed @UTCVSurgery #Vascular team at the @VascularSVS #VAM2018 interactive poster session https://t.c…

12 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTHealthCareers: Come Join the #UTHealth Team!!!! We have openings for all positions. Click the link below and join our team!!!! https:…

12 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

VA program using telemedicine to improve care of critically ill patients in regional hospitals appeared to reduce transfers to ICUs at larger facilities without compromising patient survival, researchers said. https://t.co/3shlLvcRbn via @HealthLeaders

13 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is @USArmy Veteran Joe Lopez. https://t.co/XNJFhMYYlM

14 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceUNews: Thanks to @MarkBermanFox26 and all the other #Houston media for visiting campus Thursday when we introduced @RiceBaseball's…

14 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

How we’re leading the way in #thyroidcancer treatment: https://t.co/MgHQp9I0Dd #endcancer

14 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @davidleebron: Here’s the sequel. Gorgeousness from the opposite perspective at the end of the day. https://t.co/TOID4qgnLF

14 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UH_MVP: Come volunteer next Saturday, take some time out of your summer to give back to our Houston community! https://t.co/wIdQtK3LmX

14 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Today @Ppisters, @svargheseCHRO and other MD Anderson senior leaders set the pace for the President’s Fitness Challenge Row, Ride, Run. Next week, all employees are invited to form teams and try to beat Dr. Pisters’ time. #endcancer https://t.co/kHPILjnwi2

15 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @CaroMuriel3: “ I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” David Bowie💃🏻🏃🏽‍♀️ Running on one of the best…

15 hours ago
profile_image

Houston Methodist

@MethodistHosp

@NASARocketMan Thanks for reaching out. Please send a DM so we can get more info & have management follow up ^SF

15 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

ICYMI: Phase II clinical trial offers hope for first new therapeutic option for small cell #lungcancer in more than three decades: https://t.co/kn0V96ak9v #lcsm #endcancer

15 hours ago