Zika Update

Possible case of locally acquired infection in Florida; experimental vaccine approved for US clinical trials

Jul 22, 2016
Tanya Lewis

Aedes aegyptiCDC, JAMES GATHANYThe second reported case of Zika virus infection in Florida may have been acquired from mosquitoes in the U.S., health officials announced yesterday (July 22), STAT News reported. The patient lives in Broward County, which is close to Miami-Dade County, where the first Florida case was reported. If confirmed, the new case would be the first Zika infection spread by mosquitoes in the US.

“Today the Florida Department of Health announced that it is conducting an epidemiological investigation into a possible non-travel related case of Zika virus in Broward County,” the agency said in the statement.

The Florida Department of Health has not said whether the two cases may be linked, but has asked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to send a medical epidemiologist to help investigate. The department of health in Broward County will distribute Zika prevention kits and mosquito repellant, officials said.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first US clinical trial of an experimental Zika vaccine, STAT reported. Inovio, of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and GeneOne Life Science in Seoul, South Korea, will manufacture the vaccine. The trial will enroll 40 healthy adults, and results should be released later this year, according to STAT.

However, the vaccine likely won’t be ready anytime soon. “The average time to take a vaccine from the laboratory bench to somebody’s arm is about 10 to 15 years,” Karen Kotloff, head of the division of infectious disease at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, told The Guardian.