Efficacy of an inactivated Zika vaccine against virus infection during pregnancy in mice and marmosets

NPJ Vaccines. 2022 Jan 27;7(1):9. doi: 10.1038/s41541-021-00426-0.


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne arbovirus that can cause severe congenital birth defects. The utmost goal of ZIKV vaccines is to prevent both maternal-fetal infection and congenital Zika syndrome. A Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) was previously shown to be protective in non-pregnant mice and rhesus macaques. In this study, we further examined the efficacy of ZPIV against ZIKV infection during pregnancy in immunocompetent C57BL6 mice and common marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus). We showed that, in C57BL/6 mice, ZPIV significantly reduced ZIKV-induced fetal malformations. Protection of fetuses was positively correlated with virus-neutralizing antibody levels. In marmosets, the vaccine prevented vertical transmission of ZIKV and elicited neutralizing antibodies that remained above a previously determined threshold of protection for up to 18 months. These proof-of-concept studies demonstrate ZPIV's protective efficacy is both potent and durable and has the potential to prevent the harmful consequence of ZIKV infection during pregnancy.