Stabilitech’s technology offers several advantages over current vaccination regimen

 The challenge

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. The first large outbreak of disease caused by Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia) in 2007. Sexual transmission of Zika virus has been confirmed with other modes of transmission being investigated. The incubation period of Zika virus disease is not well defined but is likely to be a few days – similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue. A diagnosis of Zika virus infection can only be confirmed through laboratory tests on blood or other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen.

In 2015, an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly was reported. Now, a comprehensive review, confirms that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Some evidence exists that other neurological disorders are linked with Zika infection.

Treatment

There is currently no vaccine available.

Stabilitech approach

Stabilitech, uniquely, can deliver reproducible doses of infectious non-replicating viral vectors to the luminal surface of the intestinal mucosa. Once the epithelial lining cells are infected they can produce proteins which can find their way to the circulatory system. Once there, they can be recognised as foreign with the concomitant raising of an immune response. Experimental investigations using exemplar antigen have shown that a humoral response is raised after oral administration.

Benefits

Stabilitech’s approach offers several obvious advantages over the current vaccination regimen:

  • Easy self-administration via a tablet
  • Long shelf life at ambient temperature
  • Two Zika antigens presented to provide broad immunity equivalent to prior exposure and natural immunity to whole Zika virus

Part of the OraPro-Zika development program has been funded by InnovateUK.