On the way to vaccination against the dangerous Chikungunya Virus

The Chikungunya Virus is especially prevalent in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia. The dangerous pathogens made in the past years, worldwide, for millions of diseases. Also many tourists from Europe have become infected by it. So far, no vaccine against the Virus. However, thanks to new research results could be probably soon.

Several Million Cases Of Illness

“The Chikungunya fever is a tropical infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes,” explains the professional Association of German internists (BDI) on its website, “the internist in the network”. “The Virus is mainly in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia,” write the experts, who point out that the pathogen has led already to several millions of diseases. Also many tourists from Europe came down with Chikungunya fever: they had brought the disease from your trip. “A specific treatment and a vaccine,” the doctors are still. But that could change, perhaps soon.

Live vaccine on the Basis of a standard measles vaccine

As the Medical University (MedUni) of Vienna is reported in a message, on the Basis of a standard measles vaccine genetically engineered live vaccine, have great potential to act against the Chikungunya Virus.

This is the result of a now completed Phase II study, which was published in the journal “The Lancet”.

In the study, two departments of the medical University of Vienna, Institute for Specific prophylaxis and tropical medicine, under the direction of Ursula wiedermann-Schmidt, and the Department of Clinical Department with a working group and a research group at the medical University of Graz were involved.

The Lead in the study, the University of Rostock has held in cooperation with the Viennese biotech company Themis Bioscience GmbH.

Two injections rich

According to the figures, two injections are sufficient for immunization, regardless of whether at a distance of one and six months – both times the new vaccine, based on the Basis of a modified measles virus shown to be effective and safe.

As in the communication it is explained, will be administered the vaccine in the muscle and triggers the lymphatic System, the antibody production.

If an infection with the Chikungunya Virus, these antibodies to neutralize the Virus, causing the outbreak of the disease.

“The results of the Phase II study with 263 subjects are really promising in terms of immunogenicity, safety and tolerability of the vaccine,” said Wiedermann-Schmidt.

The vaccine is a live vaccine on the Basis of the measles Virus vaccine strain that has been genetically modified to Express the surface proteins of Chikungunya.

Already after a single vaccination leads to the formation of neutralizing antibodies.

An added Bonus of this vaccine is that a pre-existing measles immunity impairs the effectiveness of the vaccine, on the contrary, it comes to increase/Booster of the preservatives/anti body against measles.

The findings of the Phase II study now need to be in a Phase III evaluated. They are confirmed, then, again, man, in a few years, for the first time, an effective vaccine on the market.

Complaints can persist for months

The Chikungunya fever is often described as a mixture of OA and flu. Infected suffer after a short incubation period, symptoms such as severe headaches, joint and limb pain.

Also symptoms such as swelling of the lymph nodes, itchy skin rash, mucosal bleeding, or gastrointestinal complaints may occur.

The initial fever in Chikungunya disappears in most cases after a few days. However, the symptoms can persist sometimes for months.

Even if an infection of self-heals, it can be very time-consuming. After they survived the disease, but to life-long immunity.

Currently there is no specific treatment that could stop the Chikungunya Virus and the associated disease can be, under certain circumstances, even deadly: “at the moment, we can only alleviate try symptoms of the disease,” says Wiedermann-Schmidt.

Virus spreads worldwide

According to the MedUni-communication from the Chikungunya Virus in Southeast Asia and particularly in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka or Thailand, and then spread via Africa and the Caribbean Islands to Central and South America, the South of the USA, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In Europe, the Chikungunya fever has been diagnosed so far, mainly as imported (travel) illness in returning tourists.

The only exception is the regional outbreak of Chikungunya fever in the Italian province of Ravenna, with more than 300 cases in 2007.

And in southern France, it came in 2010 and 2014 cases, some of the “autochthonous”, i.e. regionally isolated.

The Virus is transmitted by day-active mosquitoes, in particular by the so-called Tiger mosquitoes.

“A further spread in Central Europe is quite realistic. These mosquitoes are due to travel activities, and were deported to the transport always,“ Wiedermann-Schmidt. (ad)