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Meriden company works towards development of a Zika vaccine

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MERIDEN -- Protein Sciences, a company that already has an FDA approved vaccine for the flu, is now putting the Zika virus under the microscope and working towards a vaccination.

The first phase of the Meriden-based company's Zika trials was recently completed, and CEO and president of Protein Sciences Manon Cox says they are employing the same technology that their vaccine called "Flublok"  uses to unlock the riddles of Zika.

"We make vaccines with what you could describe as 'plug and play' technology," she said. "So instead of inserting the antigen that would protect you against flu, we now insert a protective antigen that would protect you against Zika."

Cox estimates that getting FDA approval could take two years or more and cost upwards of $100 million, so government aid and grant money will be crucial to continued development of a Zika vaccine.

"We are working with public health organizations to identify whether there is other funding to take this product to the next level."

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was awarding $459,000 to Connecticut as a grant to fight Zika. That is Connecticut's share of the $60 million allotment the CDC has set aside for states and cities to fight the virus.