West Nile virus vaccine enters Phase I clinical trials

West Nile virus in Phase I clinical trials
West Nile virus in Phase I clinical trials | Courtesy of
Researchers from the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) recently started a Phase 1, first-in-human clinical trial for a West Nile virus vaccine at Duke University.

The team used HydroVax, a peroxide-based, proprietary platform, to develop the vaccine. The unique platform is the first that can use hydrogen peroxide to inactivate viruses.

"West Nile virus represents a significant threat to public health in the United States, especially among the immuno-compromised and the elderly," Mark Slifka, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology in the OHSU School of Medicine, said. "We believe our vaccine approach will not only be safe and effective for West Nile virus, but it could also provide significant protection against other important human pathogens, including yellow fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and, potentially even Ebola."

The trial, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. As of today, there has not been a commercially approved human vaccine for West Nile virus, though there have been several early stage clinical trials conducted. 

"The generation of a safe and effective inactivated vaccine against West Nile virus could minimize disease, long-term disability and even death in vulnerable individuals," Michael Diamond, a world-renowned expert on West Nile virus immunology and pathogenesis at Washington University in St. Louis, said. "This vaccine showed great promise in pre-clinical models in animals. We are optimistic that it will stimulate protective immune responses that control infection and disease. This first trial in humans is an important milestone."

Organizations in this Story

Duke University National Institutes of Health

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