Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Could Lead to Zika Vaccines

New way to block dengue and Zika viruses
Zika vaccine
by Herney Gómez
(Precision Vaccinations News)

Researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center recently discovered a potent antibody that appears to block mosquito-borne viruses.

The newly found antibody can block the Zika virus, as well.

Fred Hutch researcher Leslie Goo, Ph.D., MPH, is an expert in flaviviruses, a family of pathogens that include Zika, dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis viruses.

She leads a team of scientists that used an advanced laboratory technique called single-cell RNA sequencing to study blood drawn from patients in Colombia who had experienced multiple exposures to both dengue and Zika.

“Zika and dengue virus are very closely related,” Dr. Goo said in a press release on April 19, 2023. 

“Half the world is now at risk for infection with the four types of dengue and Zika because the same mosquito species transmit them.”

Her team’s experiment aimed to find natural immune proteins called broadly neutralizing antibodies, so named because they are both potent and can block many strains of the virus.

The Colombian cohort was an ideal group to search for these rare antibodies.

Because of the repeated assaults from the dengue virus, and more recently by Zika, the immune systems of people in this group were a perfect environment for evolving broadly neutralizing antibodies, or bNabs.

In the end, Goo and her colleagues landed on results from just four of those patients that together yielded 23 new bNabs.

Several of those antibodies appear better than the handful previously identified by dengue researchers using more conventional laboratory techniques.

And one of the Goo team’s newly discovered antibodies, designated F25.S02, stood out from all the rest.

The unedited article is posted at this link.

As of April 27, 2023, no Zika vaccines are approved in the U.S.

Updated on May 10, 2023 - reassigned domain.

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