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Experimental chikungunya vaccine shows promise in first human trials

8/15/2014

Fox News/Reuters
By James Gathany, CDC 

An experimental vaccine being developed by U.S. government scientists to prevent the painful mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya has shown promise in its first human trials but remains years away from approval for widespread use.

In a study published on Thursday in the Lancet medical journal, National Institutes of Health scientists said the vaccine elicited an impressive immune response in all 25 adult volunteers who took part and caused no worrisome side effects.

"We believe it is a highly promising vaccine given how well tolerated it was and how robust the immune responses were," said the leader of the study, Dr. Julie Ledgerwood of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Infection with the virus, spread by two mosquito species, typically is not fatal but can cause debilitating symptoms including fever, headache and severe joint pain lasting weeks or months. There is no current treatment and no licensed vaccine to prevent it.

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