February 2, 2016 / 11:17 AM / 4 years ago

Australian university, Sementis working on Zika vaccine

Feb 2 (Reuters) - The University of South Australia said on Tuesday it was working on a vaccine for the Zika virus with Australian biotech Sementis Ltd, a day after the World Health Organization declared the mosquito-borne disease an international public health emergency.

Sanofi SA also said on Tuesday it had launched a project to develop a vaccine against the virus.

So far, small biotech companies and universities have taken the initiative to develop a vaccine, although Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline Plc has said it is studying whether its vaccine technology can be used against the virus.

Zika, a close cousin of dengue and chikungunya, causes mild fever and rash. An estimated 80 percent of those infected suffer no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

The University of South Australia and Sementis have already developed a chikungunya vaccine, which is currently in the process of being clinically tested. (bit.ly/1PcM2Sr) (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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