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Chikungunya Vaccine Candidate Well Tolerated & Immunogenic in Phase 1 Trial

There is a substantial global need for a chikungunya disease vaccine. The virus causes painful symptoms, some of which can be incapacitating for a week or more.  

A live-attenuated chikungunya virus vaccine candidate has shown promise in clinical trials among volunteers in Illinois and Alabama. A single vaccination was sufficient to induce sustaining high-titre neutralising antibodies, according to investigators who published phase 1 results in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The vaccine candidate is being developed for use serving health needs in endemic areas and as prophylaxis for travelers. The study team evaluated the vaccine candidate in a single-blind, randomized, dose-escalation phase 1 study. The volunteers were assigned to 3 escalating dose groups, and received a single shot on the first day of the trial. Volunteers were then vaccinated again with the highest dose after either 6 or 12 months.

The vaccine had no serious adverse events reported in the 120 person trial. With the first vaccination, sustaining high-titre neutralizing antibodies were produced. Due to its safety and immunogenicity profile, the study team concluded that the medium dose is best positioned for further development.

Given the vaccine was reportedly well tolerated and immunogenic, future study could help bring forth a powerful new tool for preventing chikungunya virus acquisition worldwide.

“A single vaccination was sufficient to induce sustaining high-titre neutralising antibodies, as shown by the absence of an anamnestic response after any revaccination ranging from 94% to 100% of participants. Following revaccination, vaccinees were protected from vaccine-induced viraemia,” study authors wrote.

The research was funded by the The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which was founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation alongside several national governments. 

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