Chikungunya Vaccine Candidate: Valneva Reports Positive Phase 1 Interim Results

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
ValnevaThomas Lingelbach
President & CEO of Valneva

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the significance of Chikungunya disease?

Response: Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a Togaviridae virus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The chikungunya virus causes clinical illness in 72-92% of infected humans around four to seven days after an infected mosquito bite. People infected with chikungunya may suffer from acute onset of fever, debilitating joint and muscle pain, headache, nausea and rash, potentially developing into long-term, serious health impairments such as visual, neurological, heart and gastrointestinal manifestations that in some extreme cases can lead to fatalities.

This photograph depicts a female Aedes albopictus mosquito as she was feeding on a human host. You can see the red, needle-like proboscis that had penetrated the skin, and was filled with the host’s blood, which had filled her abdomen. Ae. albopictus is known to be a vector for a number of arboviral diseases, including yellow fever, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever. CDC/ James Gathany

This photograph depicts a female Aedes albopictus mosquito as she was feeding on a human host. You can see the red, needle-like proboscis that had penetrated the skin, and was filled with the host’s blood, which had filled her abdomen. Ae. albopictus is known to be a vector for a number of arboviral diseases, including yellow fever, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever.
CDC/ James Gathany

Chikungunya outbreaks have been reported in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. As of 2017, there have been more than one million reported cases in the Americas. The medical burden is expected to grow as the CHIKV primary mosquito vectors continue to further spread geographically.

Currently there are no preventive vaccines against Chikungunya making it a major threat to public health.

We set out to develop VLA1553, a live-attenuated vaccine candidate, as a potential solution to the growing unmet need chikungunya poses. Our hope is that having a preventative vaccine for chikungunya will allow people living in endemic areas to have peace of mind while enjoying the outdoors.

Continue reading

FDA Fast Tracks Development of PaxVax Vaccine for Chikungunya

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lisa Danzig, MD Chief Medical Office PaxVax

Dr. Danzig

Lisa Danzig, MD
Chief Medical Office
PaxVax

MedicalResearch.com: Would you briefly explain what is meant by Chikungunya infection?  Whom does it primarily affect?  How is it transmitted and what the  complications?

Response: Chikungunya is caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) spread by infected mosquitos.

Infection with chikungunya virus results in severe, often debilitating joint pain in infected patients, known as arthralgia. Symptoms can include intense discomfort in joints, such as the wrists, fingers, ankles, and feet, in the knees and in the hips or shoulders. Those affected can also frequently suffer from headaches, fever, and severe muscle pain, rashes on the torso and limbs and swelling in one or more cervical lymph nodes. Individuals who are at a higher risk for contracting chikungunya include infants, elderly and those with chronic conditions.

The virus is a small, spherical, enveloped, positive-strand RNA virus. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito, which originated in Africa, first spreading to Asia and recently expanding to the western hemisphere.  Outbreaks are rapid and widespread.  In February 2005 a major outbreak of chikungunya occurred in the islands of the Indian Ocean after which over 1.9 million cases have been reported in India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar and Thailand.

Chikungunya spread has been identified in 45 countries in the Americas alone with more than 1.7 million suspected cases reported to the Pan American Health Organization since 2015, increasing the incidence of the disease and risk to U.S. travelers. In 2016 there were approximately 60,000 cases of chikungunya across India. Beyond the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbean, Central America and South America, inhabitants and travelers visiting sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are also at risk.

Continue reading

Road Networks Predict Dengue and Chikungunya Mosquito Spread

'Tiger Mosquito' Aedes albopictus female mosquito

‘Tiger Mosquito’
Aedes albopictus female mosquito

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jose R. Loaiza
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute,
Panama City, Panama, Instituto de Investigaciones Científicas y Servicios de Alta Tecnología,  Universidad de Panamá, Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá

 


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: The mosquito Aedes albopictus is a worldwide vector of both Dengue and
Chikungunya viruses.

This species invaded Panama in 2002, and it expanded
across much of the country since that time. Our main goal was to
determine the factors (e.g., ecological and non-ecological) associated
with its expansion, and to comment on the implications for vector and
disease control programs elsewhere in the American tropics.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that road networks alone best predicted the distribution of Ae.
albopictus in Panama over other variables such as population density and
climate. Our data explain the invasion mode of this mosquito species on a
local level and demonstrate a remarkable population expansion velocity
across the country. Ae. albopictus is likely moving across the landscape
as immature stages (i.e., larvae and pupae) in open water, such as used
tires.

Continue reading