Inovio Pharmaceuticals and partner GeneOne Life Sciences have gotten approval to begin early stage human trial testing for their Zika virus vaccine.
The study, given the green light from U.S. regulators, will involve 40 healthy subjects to test the tolerability, safety, and immune response from the GLS-5700 vaccine.
“We plan to dose our first subjects in the next weeks and expect to report phase I interim results later this year,” Inovio CEO J. Joseph Kim said.
Zika was declared a global public health epidemic by the World Health Organization this past February. The virus has since been linked to microcephaly, the birth defect that causes infants to be born with unnaturally small heads and developmental problems.
Just last week, U.S. officials reported three babies born in the States had birth defects associated with Zika found in the mother while pregnant.
Inovio and GeneOne aren’t the only drug companies who will begin testing their vaccine; French drugmaker Sanofi will start its own human testing next year, as will India’s Bharat Biotech company.
The race for a cure is on.