NIH initiates chikungunya vaccine trial

Colorized chikungunya virus particles. | Courtesy of the CDC

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) opened a clinical trial for a vaccine candidate against the chikungunya virus this week.

This is the second phase trial that aims to enroll 400 healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 years of age. The vaccine showed positive results in facilitating immune response; safety concerns were not reported.

A National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) representative said that the virus reemerged in the West beginning in 2013. Approximately 621,000 cases have been reported in the Americas so far in 2015.

The disease presents itself with severe joint pain, headache and fever. The chikungunya virus is typically spread through mosquito bites.

“The recent reemergence of chikungunya virus in this hemisphere has rapidly become a significant health burden,” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “Our chikungunya vaccine development efforts are part of a broader research effort to prevent, diagnose, treat and ultimately control this painful illness, which can strike anyone unlucky enough to be bitten by an infected mosquito.”

Participants will be split into two groups of 200 people. One group will receive two doses of the vaccine, and the other will act as the control group with a placebo injection.

Organizations in this story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806 Bethesda, MD 20892-9806

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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