New West Nile Virus vaccine begins human clinical trials
West Nile Virus is typically spread through bites from mosquitoes infected with the virus. The virus tends to be seasonal within the U.S., as it starts in late spring or even early summer and ends in the fall. In 2014 alone, there were 2,205 West Nile Virus cases, and 96 deaths were related to the virus in the U.S.
Researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) located in Portland designed the experimental vaccine. In 2009, the NIAID financed the researchers with a grant amounting to $7.2 million.
The Phase 1 clinical trial for the new vaccine will take place at Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, as it is one of the Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs) with the NIAID.
“Since first appearing in the United States in 1999, West Nile Virus has emerged as an important health threat in this country," NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., said. "NIAID is committed to research efforts to advance a preventive vaccine that could protect people against West Nile Virus infection.”