By Sy Mukherjee and Clifton Leaf
October 5, 2017

Greetings, readers! This is Sy.

An early-stage clinical study of a Zika vaccine from Inovio Pharmaceuticals and South Korea-based GeneOne Life Science Inc showed promise, inducing an immune response to the virus in all of the study participants.

It’s not exactly a cause for celebration quite yet. The trial only included 40 participants. But progress on fighting Zika, which can cause horrible birth defects in infected pregnant women, is always noteworthy—and the experimental treatment, GLS-5700, is a pretty unique vessel for combating the mosquito-borne virus that some researchers hope could surpass the more traditional approaches.

The treatment differs from your everyday vaccine because it’s synthetic. It doesn’t have a dead version of Zika virus, or one that’s been weakened in order to spur the immune system to fight. Rather, it’s lab-created using genomic Zika fragments, loaded up on to a DNA fragment amenable to humans, inserted into the body, and jolted into cell entry and reproduction via electrical shock.

Again, the results are still very early. But, if this sort of technique continues to succeed, there might be a way to speed up other critical vaccine development, too.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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