THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

VGTI Florida applies for patent for vaccine therapy for chikungunya, dengue fever

The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) recently filed a patent application for a potential development that could prevent the transmission of mosquito-borne viral diseases, such as chikungunya and dengue fever, in the U.S.

According to a press release from VGTI Florida, the non-profit institute's patent application covers anti-viral compounds that have shown clinical effectiveness in promoting immunity against the viruses.

VGTI Florida said the anti-viral agents developed by John Hiscott, its director of the Viral Pathogenesis & Therapeutics Program, have not only shown promise in preventing transmission of chikungunya and dengue fever, but also demonstrate the potential to protect against the flu and virus-induced pneumonia.

"Our preliminary data are highly encouraging and based on the progress we're making at VGTI Florida, I believe a viable solution is on the horizon not just for dengue and chikungunya but for a broad range of dangerous infections," Hiscott said. "The advancement of promising new anti-viral therapeutics needs to be a national priority; currently no licensed vaccines are available, and the U.S. has already experienced significant outbreaks of dengue fever and cases of chikungunya are on the rise..."

As of July 29, a total of 601 chikungunya cases have been reported by U.S. states and territories since the beginning of the year. Many cases are individuals traveling to or returning to the U.S. from affected areas like the Caribbean and Asia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dengue fever, which has affected populations in Florida and Texas, is potentially fatal and can cause long-lasting symptoms. The most common symptoms of chikungunya include high fever and severe joint pain.