French biotech firm Valneva said on Thursday it has produced a possible vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
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Valneva said its facility in Lyon, central France, had succeeded in generating a “highly purified inactivated vaccine candidate” using the same platform as the company’s Japanese encephalitis vaccine which is marketed in the United States and Europe.
No other details were immediately available.
France’s Sanofi is the only major drugmaker working on a vaccine against Zika, which has been linked to birth defects and neurological disorders, although more than a dozen smaller biotech firms and other groups are also active in the field.
Valneva said in the statement that subject to regulatory approval, it could be in a position to conduct clinical investigations in the coming months.
Global health officials are racing to better understand the Zika virus, which has caused a major outbreak that began in Brazil last year and has spread to many countries in the Americas.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Richard Lough and Alexandra Hudson)