Chikungunya vaccine could soon be a reality

Vaccine developed by French-Austrian firm Valneva shows promising results in new trial.

In a development that could be astounding in the healthcare research arena, a vaccine has been created to combat the dreadful mosquito-borne virus chikungunya. The vaccine developed by Valneva, a French-Austrian drug development company, has returned promising results in a new trial. Chikungunya is caused by a mosquito-borne virus, and the ailment has been causing fear across the world through occasional outbreaks.

As the results showed positive signs, the vaccine was put to trial on people in the United States. Incidentally, chikungunya cases are a rare phenomenon in the US.  Though the trials were done, experts have called for more research on the vaccine before it is rolled out.

Chikungunya vaccine, a must in these times

The need for a vaccine for chikungunya is of utmost urgency, as the rest of the world has been under constant fear of the mosquito-borne virus as occasional breakouts of the disease have been a reason for concern. The disease brings to patients, high fever and debilitating joint pain, which stays on for years. The fatality factor is however minimal.

According to a report that quoted the vaccine maker Valneva, the vaccine candidate, termed VLA1553, is the first to be reviewed by health authorities after applying for approval in the US and Canada. The vaccine candidate has undergone randomised, placebo-controlled phase three trial, and has looked at how to how often the live-attenuated vaccine, made out of a weakened form of the virus, would throw up results relating to an immune response.

The vaccine candidate VLA1553 was tested on a subgroup of 266 people. Of these 99 percent of them or 263 in number was found to have developed antibodies capable of neutralising the chikungunya virus, the report said.

Minimal side effects seen

A larger trial was done in 4,100 healthy adults, and researchers found that vaccine, a single shot of it, could be termed as generally safe. That also meant that the side effects caused was similar to other vaccines.

The new vaccine candidate from Valneva is seen as a promising development and could be a breakthrough in the treatment of chikungunya in regions across the world where the virus has been a major cause for concern.

The development of the vaccine also adds relief to the new era where climate change has been pushing mosquitoes to more regions, thereby making chikungunya outbreaks a potential pandemic threat.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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