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With projections putting the regional cost of the ongoing spread of the Zika virus at billions of dollars, the news that scientists are one step closer to a vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease is timely.

On Friday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that the DNA vaccine candidate developed by scientists at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center has been successful in both animal trials and the first human trial.

Following this success, the agency, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health, has moved into the next stage of testing.

Volunteers have been signing up at clinics across the Americas to participate in the tests which are being carried out at 11 sites including those in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Mexico and Miami.

This leg of the trial will involve 90 healthy adults divided into groups who will get different doses of the vaccine.

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