Eighty per cent of those that received the vaccine in Phase 1 trials were found to have immunity to the Zika virus for up to 12 months, a study published by the Annuls of Internal Medicine found; researchers added that a single-dose vaccine produced lower, but likely still effective, antibody responses.
According to the manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson-Janssen, a Phase 2 trial of the vaccine is now underway.
Zika virus is mainly spread by mosquitoes found in parts of the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. It causes symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint paint, malaise or headache.
The disease is considered endemic in Puerto Rico, where the World health Organization notes that about 100 cases are identified annually. In addition, recent studies note that climate change is having a direct effect on the geographic migration of virus vectors such as the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
For many destinations, vaccines, such as those for yellow fever, are a pre-requisite to travel. Should trials such as this new Zika one prove to be successful, travel risk managers will be armed with an extra defence to help protect individuals from the many risks of international travel.