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Testing a Novel Vaccine Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Study participants will receive two injections, 21 days apart. Another 21 days after receiving the second injection, they will experience a “clean mosquito feeding.” Dr. Memoli explained that this involves exposing the participants to biting mosquitoes that have been bred in controlled conditions and have undergone testing to prove they are free of diseases. Approximately five to 10 mosquitoes contained in a special feeding device will be placed on the participants’ arms and will be allowed to feed.
The researchers will collect blood samples from the participants after each injection, as well as after the mosquito feeding, and will follow participants for up to one year. They will evaluate blood samples to assess the safety of the vaccine and the immune response in the participants, said Dr. Memoli. “We will look at antibodies that have been produced in the blood, and will take the polymorphonuclear leukocytes from the blood to test in the lab to see how these white blood cells respond to both mosquito saliva and certain viruses coded with mosquito saliva.”
He explained that this will determine whether the vaccine induces the anticipated modified immune response against mosquito saliva that will prevent infection of individuals who are bitten by disease-carrying mosquitoes. “This change in response is what we hope will protect individuals in the future when we deliver this in a phase 2 trial,” he stressed.
Although Dr. Memoli recognizes that this is the first time such an approach targeting mosquito saliva is being tested in humans, he believes the study has the potential to provide a lot of useful data, and hopes it “leads to an improved ability for the entire scientific community to further develop good counter measures for these vector-borne diseases.”
Dr. Parry graduated from the University of Liverpool, England in 1997 and is a board-certified veterinary pathologist. After 13 years working in academia, she founded Midwest Veterinary Pathology, LLC where she now works as a private consultant. She is passionate about veterinary education and serves on the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association’s Continuing Education Committee. She regularly writes continuing education articles for veterinary organizations and journals, and has also served on the American College of Veterinary Pathologists’ Examination Committee and Education Committee.
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