Scientific team discovers new method to create vaccine against Chikungunya virus
The method, called large-scale random codon re-encoding, has demonstrated that an engineered strain of the virus exhibits a stable phenotype with a decreased capacity to replicate. The engineered strain is a potential new vaccine candidate for the emerging virus, according to ScienceDaily.com.
The group of French and Australian researchers who developed the technique recently published their work in the open access journal PLoS Pathogens.
The reemergence of Chikungunya virus exemplifies the need to develop new vaccines to target other emerging viral pathogens. Chikungunya is estimated to be responsible for several million human infections in the last decade. In addition, one of its vectors, the Aedes albopictus mosquito, is moving into new regions, meaning the infection rate is expected to climb. There is currently no licensed vaccine available to use against the illness.
Another benefit of the employed strategy is that prevents the attenuated phenotype reverting by mutation or recombination, reducing the possibility that the newly created virus strain could evolve back to a pathogenic version, according to EureakAlert.com.
The research team said that the new method potentially allows for the generic development of live attenuated vaccines against pathogens other than Chikungunya as well, both with reduced costs and the potential for a single dose use for long-term immunity.