Exciting News: First Human Trial of Promising Zika Vaccine Begins


Exciting News: First Human Trial of Promising Zika Vaccine Begins

New Zika Virus Vaccine Being Trialled by University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool at the Clinical Research Facility within the Royal Liverpool University Hospital has commenced trialling a new vaccine for the Zika virus. This marks an important milestone in the fight against the virus, which although not as widespread as during its peak in 2016, continues to pose an ongoing threat, with thousands of cases reported each year, primarily in countries close to the equator.


The Ongoing Threat of Zika Virus
Development of the New Zika Virus Vaccine
The Importance of the Zika Rapid Response Grant
The Ongoing Threat of Zika Virus

Despite the decline in the number of cases of Zika virus, it remains a serious threat. Pregnant women are at the highest risk of contracting the virus as it can cause severe fetal birth defects. It is transmitted mainly through mosquito bites, and the virus can also be passed on through sexual contact, blood transfusion, and from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.

Development of the New Zika Virus Vaccine

The new vaccine being trialled is a result of a 2016 Zika Rapid Response grant awarded to Dr Tom Blanchard, a Consultant at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, and his colleagues in their former position at the University of Manchester, in collaboration with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Dr Blanchard has been working on enhancing the vaccine's effectiveness and manufacturing scale-up.

The Importance of the Zika Rapid Response Grant

The Zika Rapid Response grant was awarded in response to the 2015-2016 Zika virus outbreak, which spread rapidly through Central and South America, causing widespread concern. The grant was designed to accelerate research and development of vaccines and diagnostic tools for the virus. The funding enabled Dr Blanchard and his team to progress rapidly with their vaccine development work.

In conclusion, the University of Liverpool's Clinical Research Facility's trialling of the new Zika virus vaccine is a significant step towards fighting the ongoing threat of the virus. The development of the vaccine, which originated from the Zika Rapid Response grant, is an excellent example of the benefits of funding medical research during times of crisis. If the trials prove successful, it could provide hope for millions of people in regions where the virus remains prevalent, particularly pregnant women who are most at risk.

Developing a Zika Vaccine for Use During Pregnancy: Liverpool Researchers Make Progress

Liverpool researchers have been making strides in developing a vaccine for the Zika virus, a project they began in 2017 despite unexpected challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has employed an approach based on studies of immunity to Zika and other related viruses in order to create a vaccine that is suitable for use during pregnancy.

The hope is that the vaccine will generate highly protective and long-lasting immunity against Zika, which currently has no approved vaccines or treatments available worldwide. Animal studies have produced promising results, prompting the vaccine to move into a "first in human" Phase I trial.

Assessing the Safety and Efficacy of the Vaccine

The trial will involve healthy volunteers who will receive two doses of the vaccine to evaluate its safety, tolerability, and ability to produce an immune response. The vaccine will be assessed in groups of four volunteers at a time, with the number of participants increasing as evidence of safety accumulates.

Over the next nine months, the trial will include up to 40 volunteers in this phase of work. Additionally, the vaccine's efficacy will be evaluated in individuals who have had exposure to other viruses that are found in places where the Zika virus circulates, such as dengue virus or yellow fever vaccine.

Collaboration and Funding

The vaccine development work has been supported by a £4.7 million Innovate UK SBRI Vaccines for Global Epidemics award and includes collaborators from the University of Manchester, the UK Health Security Agency, and industry partners.


With the ongoing Phase I trial, Liverpool researchers are optimistic about the possibility of a breakthrough in the fight against the Zika virus. By using an approach based on immunity studies of related viruses, the vaccine shows potential for providing highly protective and long-lasting immunity, which would be especially beneficial for pregnant women. The collaboration and funding support for this project provide hope for a brighter future in the fight against Zika and other global epidemics.

Zika Vaccine Developed by University of Liverpool Researchers and Partners

In an effort to protect and improve human health, a team of researchers led by Professor Neil French, Director of the Centre for Global Vaccine Research at the University of Liverpool, have developed a Zika vaccine through a collaborative effort with partners. This milestone marks the first of several vaccines, developed by Liverpool researchers, that will move from laboratory concept to human use, further strengthening UK vaccine innovation.

The Need for Zika Vaccines

With climate change contributing to the spread of Aedes mosquitoes, which can carry the Zika virus, to countries where immunity is lacking, the development of vaccines such as this one is crucial to prepare for future outbreaks. As Dr Krishanthi Subramaniam, a tenure-track research fellow who led on the studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the vaccine to lower virus levels in animals, states, "Zika should not be forgotten."

Collaboration Leads to Successful Vaccine Development

The Zika vaccine was developed through a strong collaborative effort between Liverpool researchers and their partners. According to Professor French, "It is important that we turn our excellent science into products that can protect and improve human health." This is precisely what the team accomplished, through their combined expertise and commitment to scientific advancement.

Moving Forward

With this vaccine as a foundation, researchers can continue to build upon their findings to improve public health. The development of the Zika vaccine represents a major milestone in the fight against infectious diseases, and it is exciting to see the progress being made by researchers and their partners in the UK and around the world.

BREAKING NEWS: UK Health Security Agency Plays a Vital Role in the Development of the First Zika Vaccine

The world has been on high alert for Zika virus since the outbreak in 2015. Finally, after years of research, the first Zika vaccine is being tested in clinical trials. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) played a critical role in this milestone moment, working with the University of Liverpool to develop and evaluate the vaccine.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that causes severe birth defects in babies born to infected mothers. The virus can also cause neurological complications in adults. The pandemic taught and continues to teach us that infectious diseases are a global issue but with the help of vaccines, we can make great strides in keeping everyone safe.

The Development of the First Zika Vaccine

The first Zika vaccine is the result of years of research and development by a team of scientists led by Dr Tom Blanchard, who was formerly at the University of Manchester and is now at Liverpool. The team included Professor Pam Vallely and Dr Eddie McKenzie, who worked on the project as part of an MRC award.

Clinical trials of the Zika vaccine are now taking place at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital's state-of-the-art NIHR Clinical Research Facility. Professor Richard Fitzgerald, Clinical Research Facility Director at the hospital and Associate Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology and General Internal Medicine, expressed his pleasure at taking part in the ground-breaking trial.

The Role of UKHSA in the Development of the First Zika Vaccine

The UKHSA played a vital role in the development of the first Zika vaccine. Professor Isabel Oliver, Chief Scientific Advisor at UKHSA, expressed her pride in the agency's critical role in this milestone moment. The UKHSA carried out vital work in testing the impact of the novel vaccine in the laboratory using its unique vaccine evaluation capabilities. The agency also deployed its recombinant vaccine platform technology to produce the vaccine for testing.

The UKHSA continues to enhance its work in vaccine discovery, development, and evaluation, with the aim of strengthening preparedness for future pandemics and other high consequence infectious diseases.


The development of the first Zika vaccine is a significant breakthrough in the fight against infectious diseases. The efforts of Dr Tom Blanchard, Professor Pam Vallely, and Dr Eddie McKenzie, along with the UK Health Security Agency, have contributed to this ground-breaking achievement. This milestone moment gives hope that we can protect current and future generations against the devastating effects of the Zika virus.

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