Vaccine Info

mRNA-1944 Chikungunya Vaccine

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Last reviewed
January 31, 2023

mRNA-1944 Vaccine 2023

Moderna's mRNA-1944 chikungunya vaccine candidate encodes a fully human IgG antibody isolated initially from B cells of a patient with a prior history of potent immunity against Chikungunya infection. It comprises two mRNAs that encode this anti-Chikungunya antibody's heavy and light chains within lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology.

All mRNA medicines start with identifying a protein designed to prevent or treat a certain disease. Moderna's mRNA is delivered systemically to create proteins that are either secreted or expressed on the cell surface.

The preclinical data showed that treatment with mRNA was well tolerated at doses ranging from 0.3 mg/kg to 3.0 mg/kg in non-human primates, with linear dose-dependent pharmacology, meaning that increases in mRNA doses result in predictable and proportionate increases in expressed antibodies in the blood. Finally, in a mouse viral challenge model for chikungunya virus infection, the mRNA-encoded protein protected it from arthritis, musculoskeletal tissue infection, and death. Extrapolating these findings from the preclinical models suggests that the persistence of antibody levels of at least one microgram per milliliter could be protective against chikungunya virus infection in humans.

The peer-review journal Nature Medicine reported on December 9, 2021,  To our knowledge, mRNA-1944 is the first mRNA-encoded monoclonal antibody showing in vivo expression and detectable ex vivo neutralizing activity in a phase 1 clinical trial and may offer a treatment option for CHIKV infection. Further evaluation of the potential therapeutic use of mRNA-1944 in clinical trials for the treatment of CHIKV infection is warranted.

Moderna is advancing messenger RNA (mRNA) science to create a new class of transformative medicines for patients.

mRNA-1944 Vaccine Indication

mRNA-1944 is a developmental vaccine candidate to prevent disease caused by the Chikungunya virus. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection causes an acute disease characterized by fever, rash, and arthralgia, progressing to severe and chronic arthritis in up to 50% of patients. CHIKV infection can be fatal in infants or immunocompromised individuals and has no approved therapy or prevention. 

Chikungunya is a Togaviridae mosquito-borne alphavirus circulating predominantly in tropical and subtropical regions, potentially affecting over one billion people. GAVI reported on March 23, 2021, 'Chikungunya has already been a pandemic, albeit one that didn't affect the Global North. In 2004, a large outbreak in Kenya spilled out into the Indian Ocean and Asia islands and led to a pandemic that spanned several years and had more than a million cases. But there is a risk it could become endemic in the Americas and potentially parts of Europe as climate change warms these regions and offers new habitats for mosquitoes. This means there is a growing possibility we could see another pandemic.'

Chikungunya Vaccine Candidates 2023

There are no approved chikungunya vaccines as of January 29, 2023.

mRNA-1944 Vaccine News 2019- 2022

May 12, 2022 - PLOS Medicine reported on a cohort study conducted in coastal Kenya among children hospitalized with neurological disease. The findings suggest a high burden of CHIKV infections.

November 4, 2021 - Moderna announced that its chikungunya virus (mRNA-1944) had completed the Phase 1 study evaluating escalating doses of mRNA-1944. The Company anticipates publication of the full results of the Phase 1 study soon. Currently, the Company does not have plans to advance to a Phase 2 study.

September 17, 2020 - Moderna announced positive data from additional cohorts of the Phase 1 study evaluating escalating antibody doses against the chikungunya virus (mRNA-1944) administered via intravenous infusion in healthy adults. Neutralizing antibodies were observed at all dose levels, indicating functional antibody production by mRNA-1944. 

May 24, 2019 - The Company announced the publication of preclinical data in Science Immunology, showing that mRNA encoding a human monoclonal antibody against the chikungunya virus delivered in a proprietary LNP can protect from infection by the virus in vivo.

January 2019 - Moderna announced initiating a limited, Phase 1 study of mRNA-1944 against the chikungunya virus. 

mRNA-1944 Vaccine Clinical Trial

mRNA-1944 has been studied in one clinical trial to date.