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

On Friday, Dr Anthony Fauci, 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.

The vaccine could be moved to the next phase by the end of the year if all goes according to plan.

The US$100 million trial is fully funded through this phase, but it is not yet clear whether funding is available for the next phase