A big new trial of the chikungunya vaccine candidate from French-Austrian pharmaceutical company Valneva had shown promising results. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that periodically breaks out throughout the world.
Even though the trial was conducted on participants in the United States, where the disease is incredibly uncommon, experts said additional research was required despite the positive outcomes in the battle against Chikungunya, reported AFP.
The virus results in fever and at times incapacitating joint pain, although it seldom results in death. Neither vaccinations nor treatments are presently available for the virus.
After submitting an application for clearance in the US and Canada, Valneva claims that their vaccine candidate, known as VLA1553, is the first to be evaluated by health authorities.
The new randomised, placebo-controlled phase three experiment sought to determine how frequently the live-attenuated vaccine, which employs a weakened version of the virus, elicited an immune response.
According to a research that was published in the journal The Lancet, 263 out of a subset of 266 patients who received the vaccination — or 99 percent — had antibodies that could neutralise the chikungunya virus.
The single-shot vaccination was declared “generally safe” with adverse effects that were comparable to previous vaccines in a larger experiment involving 4,100 healthy individuals.
The study found that just two individuals experienced major adverse reactions related to the immunisation, and both made full recovery.
The study’s principal author and clinical strategy manager for Valneva, Martina Schneider, characterised the findings as “promising.”
“This could be the first chikungunya vaccine available for people living in endemic regions, as well as for travellers to endemic areas or areas at risk for an upcoming outbreak,” she said in a statement.
Public health professionals are concerned that chikungunya might pose a threat to a pandemic in the future as climate change drives the insects that transmit it into new areas.
A expert in infectious diseases at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in the US named Kathryn Stephenson called the new study “good news for chikungunya virus pandemic preparedness.”
She said, “However, the vaccine might be less effective in areas with a built-up immunity to chikungunya.” This is possible with such live-attenuated doses.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 110 nations have reported cases of chikungunya since it was first discovered in Tanzania in 1952.