Chikungunya vaccine candidate causes successful development of antibodies against the virus
Chikungunya, a mosquito borne virus, has recently been responsible for outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Although the disease is not usually fatal, it causes similar symptoms to a bad flu: muscle aches, malaise and headaches. However, one of the unique aspects of the virus is that it causes severe, debilitating joint pain.
As a result of the Caribbeans relative proximity to the United States, travelers have brought the disease to the US. The CDC has said that a total of 640 cases have been observed so far. Currently, there are no officially approved treatments or vaccine for the virus.
A phase 1 clinical trial, conducted by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has seen success, causing an antibody response in all 25 volunteers for the trial. The trial attempted to establish the safety of the vaccine by administering three different doses of the vaccine. Each volunteer received three jabs over a 20 week period, and all three dose groups showed a high level antibody response to the vaccine.
As a market for the virus is growing in the Americas, some pharmaceutical companies are considering developing a vaccine for the disease.
The results of the trial were published in the academic journal ‘The Lancet‘