It has been reported that a Zika vaccine could begin human trial phase later this year. Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is hoping to start trials in the US by September. The potential Zika vaccine uses genetic information of the virus that has been synthesised in labs, rather than taken from the live virus. The hope is that upon insertion into the body, it will trigger an immune response. Then, if the person becomes infected with the virus, the body is ready to fight it.
How to prevent nut allergies
Feeding babies peanuts could protect them from nut allergies. According to scientists, babies that are introduced to nuts often are likely build up a lasting tolerance. Scientists at KCL have been following hundreds of children for over 10 years to investigate whether exposure to nuts prevents the development of potentially lethal allergies. The scientists discovered that babies who regularly consumed nuts in the first year of life built up a tolerance.
Cancer’s weakness found by scientists
Scientists believe they have found a way in which to train the immune system to attack and kill cancers. The research has been carried out at UCL, where researchers have discovered a way of identifying unique markings in a tumour (it’s ‘Achilles heel’), which enable the body to target and kill the disease. Unfortunately, this very personalised method is expected to be expensive, and has not yet been trialed on human patients. Whilst this bespoke use of immunotherapy is far from being an imminent cure for cancer, scientists are saying the discovery is ‘exciting’, implying the treatment’s potential even in such early days.