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Promising Tests of a Vaccine against Chikungunya virus

​A team from the CEA François-Jacob Institute has demonstrated the preclinical efficacy of three vaccine candidates against chikungunya.

Published on 25 April 2017
​The Chikungunya virus is transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected tiger mosquito. The virus causes fever and affects the joints, causing highly disabling pain. Existing treatments are only symptomatic, which is why it is necessary to develop an effective vaccine.

Several vaccine candidates have been developed within the framework of European project ICRES[1], three of which have just been tested by a team from the François-Jacob Biology Institute. After demonstrating their efficacy on murine models, they were tested on preclinical models of non-human primates. "We worked on a vaccine designed from an attenuated strain of Chikungunya (Δ5nsP3), and on two non-replicative viruses (DNA, MVA[2]) provided by our Swedish and Spanish partners" said Pierre Roques, a researcher on viral diffusion at the François-Jacob Institute. By inducing the production of an antiviral cellular response and a strong antibody response that neutralizes wild-type virus replication within the body, all three vaccines have proven effective in protecting against exposure to African and Asian viruses. "No clinical sign typically associated with chikungunya appeared (no inflammation or fever) until 10 months after vaccination with Δ5nsP3," Roques said. "Also, no side effect was observed during follow-up, which attests the safety of the products."

Easier to produce and administer, the highest potential vaccine relies on the attenuated virus. The scientists will now try to optimize its protocol of use, by reducing the injected doses to find the best dose/effectiveness balance to ensure reinforced safety. This work therefore provides a solid basis for the clinical development of a vaccine that would be effective against Chikungunya in the long term.

[1] Integration of Chikungunya RESearch

[2] MVA (non-pathogenic, Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara)

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