One USM professor in the process of learning a possible vaccine for the Zika virus


HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A USM professor is working with the Mississippi Health Department and is studying the Zika virus.

Dr. Donald Yee recently came back from a trip to Puerto Rico, where he learned more about a possible vaccine for the virus.

Yee said "there have been several hundred cases of Zika in Puerto Rico and this is a place in the United States where actually Zika is being transmitted from humans to mosquito's, back to humans, which is not something we currently have in the 50 United States."

"The actual pathogen that causes malaria it’s what we call a plazmodium. It's a type of protozoan. Therefore, it can actually live in any of the mosquito's that will pass on for instance Zika," said Yee.

"The benefits though is the technology that's being currently utilized to malaria-proofing mosquito's. So there is some potential there for what we learn about how to keep a malaria-mosquito from passing malaria could be used for keeping for instance an animal like one of the mosquito's that we study from passing on Zika,” said Yee.

Yee said the 800 cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. are all travel-related so far.

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