New research announced today shows vaccine candidates developed at BIDMC protect primates against the Zika virus

Boston (August 4, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today joined medical leaders and researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) where they toured a lab and learned more about promising vaccine candidates being developed for the Zika virus. Florida has identified 15 people who have contracted the Zika virus domestically in the first outbreak in the United States. Senator Markey was joined by Dr. Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC who today announced new results from his team’s research that achieved complete protection against Zika virus in primates. The research team’s findings were published online today in the journal Science.

“It is only a matter of time before the fear of local Zika transmission we are experiencing in Florida becomes the reality for every state in this nation,” said Senator Markey, top Democrat on the U.S. Senate’s Africa and Global Health Policy subcommittee. “That is why the vaccine development at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a critical component of the fight against the Zika virus. In Massachusetts, we already have the intellectual capacity to develop faster diagnostic tests, efficient vaccines, and advanced therapeutics for Zika but what we need now is the financial certainty to support this kind of work in an accelerated way. It is time for Congress to pass a robust emergency funding package to deal with this growing crisis.”

“All of us at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are deeply proud of the groundbreaking work by Dr. Dan Barouch and his team to develop a vaccine that will halt the spread of Zika,” said Kevin Tabb, MD, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  “We are grateful to Senator Markey for his many years of advocacy and continued commitment to supporting the innovative research that makes medical advances possible.”   


“The development of a safe and effective vaccine that can protect against Zika virus is an urgent global health priority,” said Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “In our most recent research, we demonstrated that three vaccines provided complete protection against Zika virus in nonhuman primates.  These findings raise optimism that the development of a Zika virus vaccine for humans may be possible, and we plan to begin clinical trials together with our partners this fall.”

The Zika virus has been linked to a severe birth defect know as microcephaly and a higher incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised pregnant women to avoid the Wynwood area of Miami, Florida due to fears of possible local Zika virus-infected mosquitoes.