This page collects some of the Sessions' key scientific results presented during the Symposium.
Session 1: Surveillance, burden estimates, modelling
With new cases of Zika becoming increasingly rare, seroprevalence surveys that determine who has ever been infected by the virus have become increasingly important for understanding Zika transmission dynamics. Groups across the consortium have risen to this challenge by collecting data from many different sites in Latin America and the Caribbean that have shown heterogeneous patterns of exposure ranging from 10-70% IgG prevalence. Results were also presented from seroprevalence surveys in Africa and Asia where even less is known about Zika’s long term dynamics and ability to persist outside of sylvatic cycles. While issues still remain with reliably distinguishing anti-Zika antibodies from antibodies to other common closely related flaviviruses, many groups have adapted innovative solutions to derive reliable prevalence estimates. Combining seroprevalence surveys with modelling has led to important new insights, particularly for predicting future Zika risk. These joint projects show the value of multidisciplinary research for answering some of the most challenging remaining questions about Zika’s epidemiology.
Summary provided by Simon Cauchemez (Institut Pasteur) and Oliver Brady (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)
Session 9: Zika Vaccine
The Zika Vaccine session was chaired by the ZIKAVAX representatives, Frédéric Tangy (Institut Pasteur) and Nicola Viebig (European Vaccine Initiative). Frédéric Tangy summarised the on-going Zika vaccine development efforts, and pointed out the importance of vaccines. As one of the on-going activities, the ZIKAVAX project aims to develop a Zika vaccine using a delivery platform based on a measles vaccine vector. The platform has demonstrated to be rapidly adaptable for a variety of pathogens, and life attenuated measles vaccines are one of the safest and most efficacious vaccines available. Within ZIKAVAX, a large number of vaccine candidates were screened, and the most promising vaccine candidates demonstrated to be immunogenic and efficacious in mouse studies. ZIKAVAX also developed and validated a Zika virus infection model in non-human primates that will be used to further assess Zika vaccine candidates, as presented by Romain Marlin (CEA, France). Sabrina Schrauf reported that the ZIKAVAX partner Themis responded to the epidemics and took the challenge to develop a Zika vaccine candidate from design to phase I clinical trial submission within 11 months, the clinical trial is on-going. Kai Dallmeier (University of Leuven, ZIKAlliance/ZikaPLAN) introduced a pre-clinical Zika vaccine candidate based on the yellow fever platform, as well as the innovative Plasmid-based live-attenuated vaccine technology (PLLAV). Thomas Jäenisch (Heidelberg University Hospital, ZIKAlliance) wrapped up the session and the meeting discussing Phase II/II clinical trial endpoints and potential clinical trial sites in the context of reduced transmission. The potential inclusion of pregnant women in the Zika vaccine clinical trials was pointed out and the ethical considerations hereto.
Summary provided by Frédéric Tangy (Institut Pasteur) and Nicola Viebig (European Vaccine Initiative)
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