The Zika Vaccine session was chaired by the ZIKAVAX representatives, Frédéric Tangy (Institut Pasteur) and Nicola Viebig (European Vaccine Initiative).
Frédéric Tangy summarised the on-going Zika vaccine development efforts, and pointed out the importance of vaccines. As one of the on-going activities, the ZIKAVAX project aims to develop a Zika vaccine using a delivery platform based on a measles vaccine vector. The platform has demonstrated to be rapidly adaptable for a variety of pathogens, and life attenuated measles vaccines are one of the safest and most efficacious vaccines available. Within ZIKAVAX, a large number of vaccine candidates were screened, and the most promising vaccine candidates demonstrated to be immunogenic and efficacious in mouse studies. ZIKAVAX also developed and validated a Zika virus infection model in non-human primates that will be used to further assess Zika vaccine candidates, as presented by Romain Marlin (CEA, France). Sabrina Schrauf reported that the ZIKAVAX partner Themis responded to the epidemics and took the challenge to develop a Zika vaccine candidate from design to phase I clinical trial submission within 11 months, the clinical trial is on-going. Kai Dallmeier (University of Leuven, ZIKAlliance/ZikaPLAN) introduced a pre-clinical Zika vaccine candidate based on the yellow fever platform, as well as the innovative Plasmid-based live-attenuated vaccine technology (PLLAV). Thomas Jänisch (Heidelberg University Hospital, ZIKAlliance) wrapped up the session and the meeting discussing Phase II/II clinical trial endpoints and potential clinical trial sites in the context of reduced transmission. The potential inclusion of pregnant women in the Zika vaccine clinical trials was pointed out and the ethical considerations hereto.