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    Breakthrough in Zika Virus Vaccine Development: Gdańsk Researchers Unveil Prototype

    Gdańsk researchers have developed a prototype vaccine against the Zika virus, a major breakthrough in the fight against the disease. The virus, primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, poses a significant risk of birth defects in infants born to infected pregnant women. Despite the urgency during the 2015 Zika epidemic, no vaccine had been successfully introduced to the market until now.

    Scientists from the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology at the University of Gdańsk and the Gdańsk Medical University collaborated on the project. Their innovation involves modifying amino acid sequences of Zika virus proteins to enhance the production of virus-like particles (VLPs) in eukaryotic cells, thereby increasing the vaccine’s immunogenic potential.

    The Gdańsk team introduced unique modifications to the viral protein sequences, aiming for VLPs closely resembling native viral particles. These alterations, including signal sequence, structural protein cleavage site, and transmembrane domain modifications, distinguish their approach from existing global efforts.

    The vaccine’s efficacy was successfully tested in vivo on a primate animal model. The patented invention also includes applications for diagnostic antigen detection. While the vaccine showed promise in animal models, further preclinical and clinical trials involving human participants are necessary before market introduction.

    Despite substantial funding during the 2015 epidemic, the global Zika vaccine development landscape has progressed slowly. The recent focus on COVID-19 vaccine research and decreased Zika infections worldwide has further slowed progress.

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