Vaccine offers hope to treat chikungunya

August 14th, 2011 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 14 (IANS) A new vaccine that may cure the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, which afflicts millions of people in India, Southeast Asia and Africa has been developed by US scientists.

A single dose of the new vaccine protected lab mice from the deadly virus, which triggers a painful and often chronic arthritic disease among humans.

“Currently, we have no approved treatment or vaccine for chikungunya, and there’s a
real need for an effective vaccine to protect against this debilitating and economically devastating infection,” said study co-author Scott Weaver.

“We need to slow this virus down in India and Southeast Asia,” said Weaver.

“Everything we’ve seen so far suggests this vaccine candidate could fill that need,” added Weaver, the journal Public Library of Science reports.

The vaccine has been jointly developed by researchers from the Universities of Texas, Wisconsin and Alabama and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Texas statement.

It has been created by genetically modifying the chikungunya virus.

The new vaccine strain that provokes an immune response to protect against future chikungunya infections, would also be cheaper to produce in large quantities.

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