July 19, 2016 10:50 am
Updated: July 19, 2016 5:58 pm

First international clinical study on Zika virus vaccine set for Quebec City

WATCH ABOVE: The first international clinical study to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus is set to begin in Quebec City. Global's Matt Grillo reports.

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The first international clinical study to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus is set to begin at the Université Laval in Quebec City.

It is one of three leading research centres involved in the vaccine study.

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“We’re very proud to be part of the first international team in the world to complete all of the steps in the regulatory process,” said Gary Kobinger, one of the researchers with Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval (CHU).

“And to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada to develop a Zika vaccine.”

READ MORE: Zika virus: Woman transmits virus to man through sex

Kobinger, who is the director of Université Laval’s Infectious Diseases Research Centre (IDRC), a doctor of microbiology, professor in the faculty of medicine at the Université Laval and a global authority on vaccine research, is supervising the study.

The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by mosquitoes.

It has become epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean since last fall.

READ MORE: Global scientists begin large study of 10,000 pregnant women in Zika-hit areas

Although most cases are relatively mild, women who are infected while pregnant are at risk of miscarrying or giving birth to children with abnormally small heads — a condition known as microcephaly.

“There is no existing treatment or vaccine for Zika. The vaccine currently being developed will be administered to humans for the first time as part of the clinical study,” said Gertrude Bourdon, president and CEO of CHU.

The IDRC is the only Canadian centre involved in the study, which is being conducted in close collaboration with two other centres in the United States.

READ MORE: Experimental Zika vaccine to begin human testing

Under Kobinger’s guidance, Dr. Sylvie Trottier and her team will begin an extensive clinical study to test the new Zika vaccine.

The IDRC is currently looking for adult volunteers who are in good health and would like to participate in the study.

Anyone interested can contact a member of the infectious disease clinical research team at 418-654-2796.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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