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Zika Beware

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first clinical trial for a Zika vaccine, says MIT's Technology Review.

This vaccine, which is being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals and GeneOne Life Science, is somewhat unique as it is DNA-based, Technology Review says. Synthetic Zika genes are inserted into plasmids, which are then injected into a patient, prompting the body to produces viral proteins and triggering the immune system.

There are other companies and agencies developing Zika vaccines, including the NIH and Sanofi, Technology Review says. But Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that we won't know if those vaccines are effective until early 2018.

However, since Inovio is starting its trial now, it might beat that timeline, the article adds. And because the DNA is synthetic, it is safer and should make the vaccine quicker to manufacture and store.

The company will be begin phase I clinical testing for safety of vaccine GLS-5700 in 40 healthy volunteers within a few weeks.