Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Scientific result | Vaccine | Chikungunya
A European consortium, of which the CEA-IMETI is a member,
has developed a vaccine against the Chikungunya virus and tested it in a
rodent model. Trials in humans could begin in 2015.
The Chikungunya virus, transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes,
causes high fever, headaches, rashes and especially muscle and joint pain in 95%
of infected individuals. These symptoms disappear within 2-6 weeks in most
patients, although 5% to 30% of individuals exhibit clinical signs that may
persist for several months to years after the acute phase of the disease.
Researchers from the CEA-IMETI and their Swedish, Estonian, English and Spanish
collaborators within the ICRES  European consortium have begun the
construction of several vaccines to combat epidemics that regularly
emerge around the planet (see box). The researchers prepared several candidates,
including two attenuated vaccines based on genetically modified Chikungunya
strains, and a vaccine designed from synthetic DNA encoding a portion of the
viral proteins. These vaccines were tested one by one or in combination
in a rodent model, in collaboration with a Swedish laboratory. “We
observed a strong humoral immune response with antibody production, and a strong
cellular immune response”, states Pierre Roques. “Seven weeks after the vaccine
injection, a protective effect was measured by inoculating the wild virus in
animal models. It turns out that the protection against joint damage is very
effective when a booster vaccination is provided 3 weeks after the first
injection.” Two of these vaccines, evaluated as the most effective, will
soon be tested in non-human primates, whose immune system is close to humans. If
the results are conclusive, clinical trials could begin as soon as 2015.
 Integration of Chikungunya research
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.