By Jim Melwert

By Jim Melwert

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. (CBS) — A Plymouth Meeting company has the green-light for phase-one human testing of a vaccine for Zika virus.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals uses a DNA based platform to create vaccines.

Founder and CEO J. Joseph Kim says there are advantages to DNA-based vaccines as compared to the traditional method of using components of the actual virus. It’s much faster, and as there is no virus in the vaccine, it could be safer for pregnant women.

The company says, in preclinical testing in small and large animal models, the synthetic vaccine showed potential to prevent infection in humans.

The study will use 40 human volunteers. Kim says they plan to dose their first subjects in the coming weeks, and expect to report the results later this year.

The world health organization declared Zika virus a health emergency earlier this year, and says 61 countries and territories report continuing mosquito borne transmission.

While there are reported cases in the Philadelphia area, they’ve all been contracted in other countries.