Hope In The Horizon – Zika Vaccine In The Trials


Scientists are currently involved in a research for a vaccine against Zika and if all go well, then the vaccine could be available as early as 2018. Anthony Fauci, the Director of NIAID ( National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) in Maryland made this announcement earlier in the day. The NIAID has plans of doing trial runs of a vaccine developed in its labs on around 80 volunteers during September, this year.

If the vaccine is found to be safe and has the capability to simulate immune responses, then NIAID has further plans to launch it in the first quarter of next year. However, it is to be noted that this launch will be limited to countries that have a high rate of infection of this deadly disease.

There are several factors that will determine the success of this vaccine. Including the rate at which Zika is spread in the communities involved in the study. Also, the efficiency of a vaccine can be rightly measured only when there is a marked difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, this is rarely possible in reality.

Yet, the Vaccine offers hope to large number of communities that are gripped by this deadly disease.

Animal Testing to be made obsolete by a new entrant in the field


A new life science company all set to open shop in the Seaport District of Boston aims to make animal testing obsolete. They eventually want to see that drug manufacturers put an end to testing their drugs on mice and other animals. Currently all the leading drug manufacturers insert samples of the drug into mice to test the effects of their drugs on the different organs of these tiny creatures.

The company plans to do away with animal testing by making use of plastic chips to mimic the role of drugs in the body. The benefits of such a mission are manifold. Apart from taking a more humanitarian approach to drug testing, it is highly efficient. Using a system of two-inch long plastic chips is highly easier that using a lab full of live animals. Emulate, Inc is currently headed in this direction. It is to be noted that this start-up is a spin off from the Wyss Institute of Harvard.

Emulate Inc, opened its headquarters earlier this week at Drydock Avenue in the Innovation District of Boston. This is the area that was recently in the news, when GE announced its plans to build its new Global headquarters later this year. The 20,000 square foot space can accommodate not only its current employees but also has provisions for future employees too.

Geraldine Hamilton, the Chief Science Officer of Emulate Inc stated that the company has already created a series of plastic chips that mimic the role of the major organs in the human body. These plastic chips contain living cells attached to them. They are highly flexible and mimic the role of organs as close to reality as possible. The basic idea behind these cells is that sample drugs can be inserted into the channels and monitored to see how they impact the organs, which the chips mimic.