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Published On: Tue, Nov 12th, 2013

Themis Bioscience Chikungunya vaccine in clinical trials

Viennese biotech company Themis Bioscience announced the start of a phase I clinical study on its Chikungunya fever vaccine. The vaccine candidate, which is based on a standard anti-measles vaccine, will be evaluated on 36 candidates in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Vienna General Hospital.

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC

Aedes aegypti
Image/CDC

A vaccine against this mosquito-borne infectious disease is urgently needed: the disease is spreading at an increasing rate in Africa and Asia, and the rise in long-distance foreign travel means that cases have also been reported in Europe and North America.

The primary goals of this recently launched study are to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine, as well as its ability to generate a strong immune response. At the same time, the study will provide the clinical “proof of concept” for Themis’ vector technology. This is based on the company’s own Themaxyn platform.

Dr. Erich Tauber, founder and CEO of Themis, says of Themaxyn: “The Themaxyn platform is a further development of a standard anti-measles vaccine. In addition to its excellent safety and production profile, it has also proven its high efficacy millions of times over.”

Themis expects to see results from this recently initiated study on the Chikungunya vaccine during 2014 – the company then plans to begin clinical testing of the Dengue vaccine.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952. It is an alphavirus of the family Togaviridae. The name ‘chikungunya’ derives from a root verb in the Kimakonde language, meaning “to become contorted” and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain, according to the WHO.

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually ends within a few days or weeks. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years.

The virus is transmitted from human to human by the bites of infected female mosquitoes. Most commonly, the mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species which can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue. These mosquitoes can be found biting throughout daylight hours, although there may be peaks of activity in the early morning and late afternoon.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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    […] The Global Dispatch Themis Bioscience Chikungunya vaccine in clinical trials The Global Dispatch A vaccine against this mosquito-borne infectious disease is urgently needed: the disease is spreading at an increasing rate in Africa and Asia, and the…  […]

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