An optimized purified inactivated Zika vaccine provides sustained immunogenicity and protection in cynomolgus macaques

NPJ Vaccines. 2020 Mar 12;5(1):19. doi: 10.1038/s41541-020-0167-8. eCollection 2020.


The recent spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) through the Americas and Caribbean and its devastating consequences for pregnant women and their babies have driven the search for a safe and efficacious ZIKV vaccine. Among the vaccine candidates, a first-generation ZIKV purified inactivated vaccine (ZPIV), adjuvanted with aluminum hydroxide, developed by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), has elicited high seroconversion rates in participants in three phase-I clinical trials. In collaboration with the WRAIR, Sanofi Pasteur (SP) optimized the production scale, culture and purification conditions, and increased the regulatory compliance, both of which are critical for clinical development and licensure of this vaccine. Using a clinical batch of the first-generation ZPIV as a benchmark, we report that different doses of the optimized vaccine (ZPIV-SP) elicited sustained neutralizing antibodies, specific T- and memory B-cells, and provided complete protection against a ZIKV challenge in cynomolgus macaques. These data provide evidence that the ZPIV-SP vaccine performs at least as well as the ZPIV vaccine, and provide support for continued development in the event of future ZIKV outbreaks.

Keywords: Drug development; Viral infection.