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publicado em 15/08/2011 às 14h30:00
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Novel vaccine protects mice against chikungunya

Pathogen produces extremely painful disease and chronic arthritis, affecting millions of people in India, Southeast Asia and Africa

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Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, United States, developed a new vaccine to protect against infection caused by chikungunya virus. The pathogen spread by mosquitoes produce an extremely painful disease and often a chronic arthritis, which has reached millions of people in India, Southeast Asia and Africa.

A single dose of the vaccine protected mice from infection by the virus. "Currently, we have no approved treatment or vaccine for chikungunya and there is a real need for an effective vaccine against this debilitating infection and economically devastating. All we've seen so far suggests that this vaccine candidate could fill that need," said senior author Study Scott Weaver.

The experimental drug is a "recombinant live attenuated vaccine," created from the genetic modification of the chikungunya virus.

The resulting vaccine strain differs from the wild virus in two respects: it does not cause disease and is unable to infect the mosquitoes, the latter trait is an important safety feature to ensure that the vaccine strain can not begin transmission in non-endemic where travelers could be immunized before a trip to Africa or Asia. It still provokes an immune response to protect against future infection by chikungunya.

A live virus vaccine would also be relatively economical to be produced in large quantities, an important factor, given the limited resources available in the areas hardest hit by chikungunya. "We need to reduce infections caused by this virus in India and Southeast Asia, not only to protect people in these areas, but to reduce the very real risk that it becomes endemic. The best way to do this is with a vaccine warned Weaver.

   Palavras-chave:   Chikungunya virus    Vaccine    University of Texas Medical Branch    Scott Weaver   
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