Press Release & Update
BIKEN begins development of Zika virus vaccine, upon concluding agreement on virus distribution with Chiba Prefectural Institute of Health
The Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (Head Office: Suita city, Osaka, hereinafter referred to as “BIKEN”) announced today that it concluded an agreement on the distribution of Zika virus (strain ZIKV/Hu/Chiba/S36/2016) which was successfully isolated by BIKEN for the first time in Japan with Chiba Prefectural Institute of Health as of September 2, and began the development of a Zika virus infection vaccine.
In fiscal 2016 BIKEN is taking part in the development of Zika fever vaccines by joining the “Research on Prototype Vaccines against Zika Virus Infections” which is a component of ‘the Research of Comprehensive Measures against the Insect-borne Virus Infections for which there are concerns for invasion into and outbreak in Japan”. This research is part of the “the Research Project of Promotion of Development of Innovative Pharmaceuticals, etc. against Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases” of Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). We are aiming to start clinical trials during fiscal 2019.
On the occasion of the conclusion of the agreement, Koichi Yamanishi, Director-General of BIKEN said, “We see the pandemic areas of Zika virus infections expanding day by day, threatening the health of pregnant women and newborn babies in particular. BIKEN developed and has been supplying a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis virus which is the same Flaviviridae as Zika virus. Now that we received the distribution of Zika virus isolated in Japan, we will work hard on research and development by leveraging BIKEN’s knowledge and experience in order to develop an effective and safe vaccine early and to deliver it to the people who need it.
About Zika virus infection
Vaccines against or medications to treat Zika virus do not exist. When infected by Zika virus, after an incubation period of 2 – 12 days, approximately 20% of those infected develop disease conditions such as maculopapular rash, fever (＜38.5℃ in many cases), headache, joint pain, muscle pain, ophthalmia and malaise. WHO (World Health Organization) on February 1, 2016 declared “Public Health Emergencies of International Concern” on a mass outbreak of microcephalia in newborn babies and other neurological disorders due to Zika virus infection. In Japan, it is designated as infectious disease Category 4 for which all cases need to be traced under the Infectious Disease Law.
Reference: 1) IASR Vol. 37 p. 119-121: July Issue, 2016
Biken has a long history stretching back to its establishment in 1934. Since then, it has been engaged in the development, production, and supply of a wide variety of important vaccines based on the results of pioneering basic research activities conducted by the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University for more than 80 years. Through these efforts, Biken has contributed to the prevention of infections both in Japan and overseas. The principal Biken vaccines include the varicella vaccine and influenza vaccine. Biken continues to place a premium on public welfare and to the further development of its work. Biken is committed to ensuring the continuous and stable supply of high-quality vaccines through the dedicated efforts of its personnel. Moreover, Biken will promote its work in order to improve global health and quality of life (QOL) through the development and supply of innovative next-generation vaccines.
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