First Zika vaccine to be tested in humans #progress

Reported by CNN:

(CNN)The first human trial of a Zika vaccine will begin soon, Inovio Pharmaceuticals said Monday.

Inovio, which is based in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and GeneOne Life Science, which is based in Seoul, South Korea, worked together on the vaccine. They previously collaborated to create vaccines for Ebolaand MERS, both of which are being tested.

The Zika vaccine, with the clinical-sounding name GLS-5700, will first be tested in 40 healthy volunteers. The first tests in humans should start in the next few weeks, Inovio said in a news release.
In the animal testing stage, the vaccine caused a strong antibody response, the company said. It is still very early in the vaccine’s development. Phase I of a vaccine trial ensures that it can be tolerated well in human subjects. If successful in this first round of human testing, it will need additional approval for further testing.
At the next stage, the vaccine would be tested on people who have Zika. Then there would be a stage to see how well it works on a larger group of people. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, is leading a team that is trying a few approaches to a vaccine, including an approach using DNA like Inovio’s does. He believes that trial could start by the end of August. In the coming months, he said, we will probably be hearing about a number of vaccine candidates going into Phase I trials. “This is all good news,” Fauci said.

#Science celebrity who? Inspiring career talk by Tony Fauci!! @NIH @NIAIDNews #scicomm


In case you missed our tweets, I visited my brother and psgurel at NIH on Friday and crashed a talk by NIAID Director Anthony Fauci (one of our main science celebrities/science crushes). Fauci’s talk was about his career and how he got to each point of it. From growing up in Brooklyn, studying classics in college, researching and treating HIV patients, to dealing with the recent Ebola outbreak, Fauci said you can never see where your career might lead you. He truly is an amazing clinician, scientist, advocate, and communicator of science!

One piece of advice Fauci gave was to always be nice to everyone you meet, because you never know where they may end up (while showing a picture of him and then first lady Hillary Clinton –  he also more or less endorsed her for 2016, haha). I highly recommend trying to see Fauci talk if you can …. maybe he’ll be NIH Director one day 🙂

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#SCIENCE Quotable: NIH’s Francis Collins and Tony Fauci – Think Globally #science


Check out the full editorial here in Science Magazine. #TonyFauciIsMyHero!

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has for more than 60 years supported research to improve the health and prolong the lives of people in the United States and around the world. Mean life expectancy worldwide has doubled to more than 70 years, due in large part to medical and public health interventions developed with NIH funding. Now, in the face of serious fiscal constraints, the idea has reemerged from some congressional leaders and disease constituency groups to more closely align NIH funding for disease research with disease burden in the United States. Although the nation must maintain robust research support for diseases that cause illness and death among large numbers of Americans, it would be unwise to deemphasize diseases that exact their largest toll elsewhere in the world. The United States has a vital interest in the health of people around the globe, rooted in an enduring tradition of humanitarian concern as well as in enlightened self-interest. Engagement in global health protects the nation’s citizens, enhances the economy, and advances U.S. interests abroad.

#Ebola Quotable: Dr. Anthony Fauci – No one is doing enough, global community needs to get involved!


There is no one country that can do it alone… we are going to need multiple countries coming in and stepping to the plate. Organizations, NGO’s, so it’s not going to be one person or one group or one country thats going to be doing it. And that’s one concern we have. Because as the epidemic itself, in the speed of its expansion, outstrips the speed and quantity of the resources you put in, you’re always playing catch up ball. The only way to turn this around is to actually catch up. Right now, its all catch up ball.

Whenever you are behind trying to catch up, you can never say we’re doing enough. I mean no one is doing enough. We’re doing a lot and i think if we get the global community involved, that that’s going to be something that is compounding what you are doing, and is what you really need to do.

-NIH NIAID Director Anthony Fauci during an interview with Rachel Maddow


#Ebola Quotable: Anthony Fauci on current ways to stop outbreak


The important thing to emphasize is that today, and in the immediate future, the way one can stop this epidemic is by good hospital infection and infection control procedures. Isolation, quarantine, and protecting the health care workers with personal protective equipment. Vaccine is fine. But right now the tools that we have that can work, are the good protection, isolation, and good infection control. – Anthony Fauci on MSNBC discussing Ebola outbreak and clinical trials for a Ebola vaccine.

Update on #Ebola serum treatment: limited supply and too experimental #Fauci

After my post yesterday about the experimental serum treatment for Ebola Virus, there are 2 articles that answer some of the questions around this treatment and its use. In the post yesterday, I presumed that the supply of the untested antibody serum zMAPP is probably very limited. Today, reports confirmed that the CDC has stated that zMAPP supply is very limited:


“The manufacturer reports that there is a very limited supply, so it cannot be purchased and is not available for general use,” the agency said in a recently posted“Questions and Answers” page on the experimental treatment.

Another report out today includes statements from Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH, on the experimental Ebola treatments:


Drugs under development will not be a big part of the solution… They are too early in development for enough doses to be manufactured, even if they are shown to be safe. The real area of focus, he said, should be setting up medical infrastructure in the affected countries to provide sick people with basic medical support such as replacement fluids and blood. That will have a much bigger effect on health than a few batches of experimental medications, he said.

This confirms that zMAPP and other experimental treatments for Ebola are in too short supply to be used to treat this outbreak, and that these are all too early in development to be ethically used.