Although, mosquito-borne diseases are a known problem throughout much of the developing world, an increase in travel, and some say, global warming, has brought these deadly diseases to the door-step of the industrialized world as well. In order to discuss the multitude of vector-borne disease that impact millions of individuals around the world and treatments for these diseases, Contagion® recently sat down with Matthew J. Memoli, MD, MS, director of the Laboratory of Infectious Disease Clinical Studies Unit, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.
In the interview, Dr. Memoli discussed a phase 1 trial that he is leading which will investigate the effectiveness of a new vaccine designed to provide broad protection against many mosquito-borne diseases. The vaccine is known as AGS-v and is created using mosquito saliva. More specifically, the vaccine is designed to create an immune response against the mosquito saliva in the affected host. By targeting the saliva instead of the specific infectious organism carried by the mosquito, the vaccine has the potential to protect against multiple mosquito-borne diseases at the same time. Such broad-reaching vaccines could be extremely lucrative when deployed in the developing world where it is difficult to administer many vaccines and the cost of doing so is high.
The technology being used to create the vaccine is the same currently used to create an HIV an influenza vaccine (both of which are in phase 2 trials.)
A total of about 60 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 50 years, will participate in the double-blind study. The participants will be randomized into three groups: those who will receive injections of the vaccine, the vaccine plus an adjuvant, or placebo (sterile water). Injections will be given twice, 21 days apart. Twenty-one days after receiving the second injection, the participants will receive was is called a “clean mosquito feeding,” where they will be exposed to 5-10 biting mosquitoes that have been breed in controlled conditions and are tested to be free of diseases.
Blood samples taken from the participants before treatment, after treatment, and after being bitten will be compared to assess the safety of the vaccine and the participants’ immune responses.
To read more about this trial for a new vaccine against mosquito-borne diseases, click here.