Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Researchers have found a new vaccine that can fight the Zika virus without producing antibodies, a study says.
For the study, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, researchers at the University of Nebraska placed the prM-E structural genes of Zika into the Type 4 Adenovirus and Adenovirus Type 5 areas of mice.
Both got strong T-cell responses, but the insertion in the Type 4 Adenovirus area also brought on undetectable antibodies. T-cells help shape the body's immune reaction to specific diseases.
"If you have immunity to one of these viruses and get infected by a second one, the illness can be much worse," Eric Weaver, a researcher at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and study author, said in a news release. "The body makes the wrong immune response."
Many experts think antibodies meant to fight Zika virus can actually aggravate the Dengue virus infection, which brings on rashes, high fever and muscle pain. Both viruses are mosquito-borne illnesses that often co-infect a person.
"I'm interested in viruses in general and I want to do research in an applied, translational setting," Brianna Bullard, a researcher at University of Nebraska and study co-author, said in a news release. "I'm most excited about making vaccines that can help people. We're working on Zika right now, but we also have projects relating to influenza."
The virus first arose in 1947 in Uganda's Zika Forest, but had a modern resurgence in 2015 when it began spreading wildly in Brazil.
"To our knowledge, this is the first report of a vaccine that uses the prM-E genes of Zika virus to induce protective immunity without inducing anti-Zika virus antibodies," Weaver said. "The lack of antibodies may very well circumvent the potential risks of ADE resulting in an effective and safer vaccine than those currently in clinical trials."