TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2018

Study shows effectiveness of experimental chikungunya vaccine

Researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently conducted a study that showed the effectiveness of an experimental vaccine to treat the chikungunya virus.

The results of the study, which showed the production of neutralizing antibodies in all 25 adult volunteers, were published in the current issue of the Lancet.

"The two species of mosquito that spread chikungunya virus are found in parts of the continental United States, so it may just be a matter of time before this illness gains a foothold here," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said. "Therefore, it is prudent to begin addressing this emerging public health threat with the development of vaccines, such as this one, which was designed and tested by scientists from the NIAID Vaccine Research Center."

The clinical trial involved 23 volunteers receiving three injections with the remaining two receiving two injections at different doses over a 20-week span. Vaccine-induced antibodies persisted in even the volunteers who received the lowest dosage, showing that the vaccine could be durable in fighting chikungunya.

"This observation gives us additional confidence that this vaccine would provide as much protection as natural infection," Julie Ledgerwood, the principal investigator of the trial, said.

As of Aug. 8, more than 570,000 cases of chikungunya have been recorded throughout the Americas.