SOURCE: GeoVax, Inc.

GeoVax, Inc.

March 21, 2016 09:00 ET

GeoVax Applauds Passage of Senate Bill to Accelerate Development of Zika Virus Vaccines

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - Mar 21, 2016) - GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, applauded Senate passage of legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., that would add Zika virus to an FDA program that helps expedite vaccine and drug development.

The legislation, introduced by Isakson along with Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., previously passed the Senate health committee on March 9, 2016. The U.S. House of Representatives will now vote on the bipartisan legislation following passage by the full Senate on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

On February 3, 2016, GeoVax announced that it had begun a program to develop a vaccine for the prevention of Zika virus infections using its novel MVA-VLP vaccine platform, and that it had entered into a collaborative relationship with researchers at the University of Georgia to speed development of the vaccine.

Robert McNally, PhD, GeoVax's President and CEO, commented, "The Zika virus is a serious threat to public health in the United States, and a vaccine is desperately needed. Together with our collaborators, GeoVax has assembled a world-class scientific team to tackle this problem. We believe our MVA-VLP vaccine technology is particularly well-suited to produce a safe, durable, and efficacious vaccine solution."

Dr. McNally continued, "We are grateful to Georgia's Senator Isakson for introducing this legislation and shepherding it through passage by the Senate, and we now look forward to its passage by the House of Representatives."

About Zika Virus

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the Zika virus and its suspected complications in newborns an international public health emergency. Between January 2007 and March 9, 2016, a total of 52 countries and territories (31 in the Americas) reported local transmission of the virus. WHO projects that the disease could reach most of the Western Hemisphere, infecting up to 4 million people by year's end. The CDC has issued a travel advisory for people traveling to regions within the Zika virus outbreak, which include popular vacation destinations. Brazil, the site of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, is included in this advisory.

Zika virus, transmitted to people primarily through the bite of Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus), is a member of the Flaviviridae family, which includes medically important human pathogens such as dengue fever, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. There is a suspected association between Zika infections and severe birth defects, particularly microcephaly, a congenital condition marked by an abnormally small head and incomplete brain development as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disorder that can cause paralysis. The number of microcephaly cases in Brazil associated with Zika virus has risen to 5,131, of which 863 cases have been confirmed to be associated and 4,268 cases remain suspected to be associated with Zika virus. Five other countries/territories (French Polynesia, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia and Suriname) have reported an increase in the incidence of cases of microcephaly and/or GBS following a Zika outbreak. Evidence that microcephaly and GBS are linked to Zika infection remains circumstantial, but a growing body of epidemiological and clinical data lean towards a causal role for Zika virus, according to a report published by the WHO on February 19, 2016. Other than mosquito control, no approved preventive or therapeutic products are currently available to fight Zika infections. Public health officials recommend avoiding exposure to Zika, delaying pregnancy, and following basic supportive care after infection. A vaccine is urgently needed to prevent a Zika pandemic.

About GeoVax

GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara -Virus-Like Particle (MVA-VLP) vaccine platform. The Company's most advanced development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV and hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa). GeoVax also recently began programs to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus, and to evaluate the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy. GeoVax's vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection.

Clinical trials for GeoVax's preventive HIV vaccines have been conducted by the NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) with funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Overall, GeoVax's HIV vaccines, in various doses and combinations, have been tested in 500 humans with very encouraging results. Currently GeoVax has the most advanced vaccine for the subtype of HIV prevalent in North America and Western Europe. The company awaits funding for a Phase 2b efficacy trial to prove the vaccine protects against HIV. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent targeted infections in humans, GeoVax's vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.

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