PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A major development in the fight against Zika — two vaccines developed at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have “successfully conveyed immunity from female mice to pups conceived weeks after the mother’s vaccination.”

A press release from the University states that when challenged with the Zika virus after birth, both vaccines protected the pups against neurological damage better than pups with no maternal-conferred immunity.

The results are set to be published in the November issue of EBioMedicine.

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“We’ve not only developed a promising vaccine candidate to move toward larger preclinical and, eventually, human clinical trials, but also a delivery format that would be inexpensive to produce and distribute to hundreds of thousands of people,” said senior author Andrea Gambotto, M.D., associate professor of surgery in Pitt’s School of Medicine.

Zika is spread mostly through the bite of infected mosquitoes. When pregnant women are infected, the virus can pass to their fetus, which can damage the developing baby and cause severe neurological birth defects, including microcephaly, or an abnormally small head.