Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ethics panel blocks proposed Zika vaccine research; STAT, February 28, 2017

Helen Branswell, STAT; Ethics panel blocks proposed Zika vaccine research

"A federally appointed ethics panel has rejected an application from a team of scientists to deliberately infect people with the Zika virus, a decision that threatens to further slow the search for an effective vaccine.

The panel’s report, published without fanfare last week on the website of the National Institutes of Health, said it would not currently be ethical to conduct the study because of the risk to potential volunteers and their sexual partners and because there are other possible study approaches.

It is not uncommon for researchers to deliberately infect study participants with viruses in the course of vaccine research. So-called “human challenge studies” allow scientists to assess a vaccine’s effectiveness more quickly than by traditional means."

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