A vaccine for the Zika virus in development by U.S. and Canadian scientists could be available for emergency use before the end of the year, possibly making it the first, one of the lead scientists said on Thursday.

The consortium working on the vaccine includes University of Pennsylvania, led by scientist David Weiner, University of Laval, led by Gary Kobinger, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and South Korea's GeneOne Life Science, Kobinger told Reuters in an interview.

He hopes to start trials by September to test its safety on humans, pending regulator approval. A month later it could be ready for emergency use.