- The first vaccine for
Chikungunya has been developed from an insect-specific virus.
- The vaccine was found to be safe and effective to produce
a strong immune defense against the virus.
- A single shot
of vaccine produced antibodies that lasted for 290 days.
A safe and effective
vaccine for Chikungunya fever
made from an insect-specific
virus has been developed by a team of researchers from The University of Texas
Medical Branch at Galveston. The researchers found that the vaccine
the immune system and protected mice and non-human primates from disease when
exposed to the Chikungunya virus.
Eilat Virus as a Vaccine
Vaccine development is
based on two factors- the first is safety, and the other is how quickly the
vaccine works. Traditionally, live-attenuated vaccines were developed from
weakened live pathogens. Those vaccines offered rapid and durable immunity but
‘New vaccine developed from the insect-specific Eilat virus was found to offer complete protection against Chikungunya.’
were also developed to offer protection, but it often required multiple doses
and boosters to work efficiently. Both the live-attenuated and inactive form of
vaccines increased the risk, either from incomplete inactivation of the pathogen
or unstable weakening of the live virus.
The research team at The
University of Texas Medical Branch used the Eilat virus as a vaccine platform
to overcome the trade-offs that were seen while using live-attenuated or
inactivated vaccines. The Eilat virus only infects insects and has no effect
An Eilat virus clone was
used to design a hybrid virus-based vaccine containing Chikungunya structural
The newly developed
Chikungunya vaccine was structurally identical to natural Chikungunya virus.
However, the difference is that the hybrid virus replicates in mosquito cells,
but, it cannot replicate in mammals.
Efficacy of the Newly
Developed Chikungunya Vaccine
The researchers tested
the safety and efficacy of the newly developed Chikungunya virus in mice and
non-human primates. The tests showed that a single dose of Chikungunya
vaccine induced neutralizing antibodies within four days
. The efficacy
of the vaccine lasted for more than 290 days.
The vaccine was found to
provide complete protection against the Chikungunya virus in two different
mouse models. However, in the non-human primates, there was neither evidence of
the virus in the blood nor symptoms of Chikungunya.
offers efficient, safe and affordable protection against Chikungunya and builds
the foundation for using viruses that only infect insects to develop vaccines
against other insect-borne diseases," said the lead author of the study,
Scott Weaver, a professor at UTMB.
The findings of the
study are detailed in Nature Medicine.
is a mosquito-borne
disease that causes fever and joint pain
. Some of the other symptoms of
Chikungunya include fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and rash.
individuals may recover within a week, but many develop long-term joint pain.
Tips to Prevent
- Chikungunya-causing mosquitoes are Aedes
aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
- The onset of illness
after the bite of an infected mosquito is between 4 and eight days, but can
also range from 2 to 12 days.
- Chikungunya cases have been
reported in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
- There is no commercial vaccine or anti-viral treatment for
- In 2015, more than 1.4 million chikungunya
cases were reported in the Caribbean Islands, in Latin American countries, and
in the United States.
- A total of 12,255 Chikungunya cases
were reported in India in 2016.
- Wear long sleeved shirts to prevent
- Use repellent sprays and
- Use mosquito nets
- Keep the
surroundings clean to prevent breeding of mosquitoes.
- Chikungunya Virus - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infectious-diseases/expert-answers/what-is-chikungunya-fever/faq-20109686)
- What is chikungunya fever, and should I be worried?