Chikungunya Vaccine Clinical Trial Launches

Chikungunya vaccine candidate MV-CHIKV was developed by Themis Bioscience

A clinical trial of an experimental vaccine to prevent chikungunya virus infections is now enrolling healthy adult volunteers at three sites in the United States.

This vaccine candidate, MV-CHIKV, was developed by Themis Bioscience of Vienna, Austria. For more information about the MV-CHIKV vaccine study, see using the identifier NCT03028441.

There are several other chikungunya vaccine candidates clinical studies. One study includes virus-like particles (VLPs) to induce an immune response in recipients.

Although chikungunya is rarely fatal, the mosquito-transmitted virus causes an intense inflammatory reaction resulting in severe joint pain, fever, rash and muscle pain. While most symptoms usually resolve in days, the joint inflammation can linger.

“Chikungunya virus can cause debilitating joint pain that can last for months or even longer,” said National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

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“A vaccine to prevent infection with this virus would be of considerable benefit to people living in the more than 60 countries where chikungunya transmission has occurred, as well as travelers to those countries,” said Dr. Fauci.

Chikungunya virus has been endemic in East Africa since at least the 1950s, when it was first discovered. There it circulates among monkeys and, occasionally, humans. The virus likely arrived in the Caribbean in late 2013, and as of March 2017, may have infected more than two million people in the Americas, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Led by principal investigator Patricia Winokur, M.D., of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, the new vaccine study will enroll 180 healthy adults ages 18 to 45 at three sites: the University of Iowa in Iowa City; Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; and Emory University in Atlanta.

NIAID conducts and supports research at National Institutes of Health (NIH), throughout the United States, and worldwide, to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.