is a viral
that has been plaguing India since 2006. It is a mosquito-borne
disease that is charecterized by high fever and excruciatingly painful
joints.The fever usually lasts for seven to ten days while the joint pain
lingers for over three months or even more.
Researchers from the University of Texas, Colorado,
University of Wisconsin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the
University of Alabama have been successful in creating a new vaccine
against the chikungunya causing virus.
According to published information online in the journal
"PLoS Pathogens" a single dose of the experimental vaccine was potent enough to
protect lab mice from chikungunya infection.
Up until now, Chikungunya infection has no specific
treatment except to treat its symptoms with paracetamol and fluids. But now
preventive vaccination may soon be available against the disease. The new
recombinant live-attenuated vaccine has been created by genetically modifying
the Chikungunya virus.
The modified strain
differs from the wild-type
virus in two ways - a) it does not cause disease b) it is not capable of
The second trait of the modified strain is an important safety
that ensures that it cannot be transmitted to non-endemic locations
According to Scott Weaver, director of Institute for
Human Infections and Immunity, "There's a real need for an effective
vaccine to protect against this debilitating and economically devastating
"Everything we've seen so far suggests this vaccine
candidate could fill that need. We need to slow this virus down in India and SE
Asia, not just to protect the people there but to reduce the very real risk
that it might become endemic here after an infected traveller arrives,"
The new vaccine is at an experimental stage
and is expected to
enter clinical trials
in the next couple of years.