Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, announced that it has launched a vaccine research and development project targeting the prevention of Zika virus infection and disease. Sanofi Pasteur leads the vaccine field for viruses in the same family as Zika virus (ZIKV), with licensed vaccines against Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis and, most recently, Dengue. Importantly, Sanofi Pasteur’s expertise and established R&D and industrial infrastructure for the newly licensed vaccine for dengue, can be rapidly leveraged to help understand the spread of ZIKV and potentially speed identification of a vaccine candidate for further clinical development.
“Our invaluable collaborations with scientific and public health experts, both globally and in the regions affected by the outbreaks of ZIKV, together with the mobilization of our best experts will expedite efforts to research and develop a vaccine for this disease,” said Dr. John Shiver, Global Head of R&D, Sanofi Pasteur.
The ZIKV is closely related to Dengue; it belongs to the same Flavivirus genus, is spread by the same species of mosquito and has a similar acute clinical presentation. Common symptoms caused by a Zika infection include fever, rash, joint swelling, conjunctivitis and headaches. However, there is a growing body of evidence linking Zika infection in pregnant women with an increased risk of a severe congenital complication at birth called microcephaly. Normally a rare condition, microcephaly results in an abnormally small head impairing brain development.
— Sanofi Pasteur (@sanofipasteur) February 2, 2016
To learn more about ZIKV and Sanofi Pasteur, please read the full press release: http://www.sanofipasteur.com/en/articles/Sanofi-Pasteur-to-leverage-its-strong-vaccine-legacy-in-hunt-for-Zika-vaccine.aspx