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Experimental chikungunya vaccine shows promise in human trial

Published on Aug 15, 2014 7:06 AM
A picture taken on July 10, 2014, shows a shopkeeper handing to a customer some documentation about the mosquito-born chikungunya virus at a drugstore in Lamentin, near Fort-de-France, on the French Caribbean island of La Martinique. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - An experimental vaccine being developed by US 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.

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