UNC-Chapel Hill researchers file patent for Zika virus vaccine

By Mackenzie Harris

Four researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a new Zika virus vaccine.

Ralph Baric, a professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, filed the application with Jessica Plante, a postdoctoral scholar, and Jesica Swanstrom, a graduate research assistant, from the school’s Department of Epidemiology, along with Matthew Begley, a research technician, from the UNC Department of Pharmacology.

The Patent and Trademark Office made the filing public Thursday.

The Zika virus, transmitted primarily by mosquitoes, often comes without symptoms, but can trigger paralysis in some patients and cause birth defects for pregnant women. Currently, no vaccine or specific treatment exists for the virus.

The invention is to serve as a method of protecting a fetus from the effects of Zika virus infection, producing an immune response to a Zika virus in a subject and treating a Zika virus infection in a subject, the claims of the report stated.

Read the full story via the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism.