Navigation Links
Experimental vaccine protects monkeys against chikungunya
Date:3/4/2010

GALVESTON, Texas Imagine a mosquito-borne virus that has already infected millions of people in recent outbreaks in South and Southeast Asia, the islands of the Indian Ocean, Africa and northern Italy. Although seldom fatal, it causes highly painful arthritis-like symptoms that can linger for months or even years. It's capable of adapting to spread through a mosquito species common in much of North America. And no vaccine or treatment exists to protect humans from its effects.

The scenario may sound like something dreamed up as a training exercise by public health authorities, but the virus is all too real. Called chikungunya, from an East African tribal word describing the contorted postures of its pain-wracked victims, the pathogen has been the focus of intense scientific interest ever since a 2006 outbreak on the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean infected about 266,000 people, killing 260 of them.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Purdue University and Bioqual Inc. have developed an experimental vaccine for chikungunya virus and successfully tested it in monkeys. Described in a paper appearing in the March issue of Nature Medicine, the vaccine is composed of noninfectious "virus-like particles." Although coated with the same proteins that enable chikungunya to pass through cell membranes, the vaccine particles lack the proteins that chikungunya uses to replicate inside cells. They look like chikungunya to the immune systems of rhesus macaques, however, which respond to exposure by generating antibodies that defend the monkeys from infection by the real virus.

"This vaccine did an excellent job of protecting the macaques from chikungunya," said UTMB professor Stephen Higgs, one of the paper's authors. "That it worked so well in a primate model is good news these macaques are quite similar to humans in their response to chikungunya, and we badly need to develop an effective human vaccine for this virus."

To create the virus-like particles used in the experimental vaccine, the researchers used genetic engineering techniques to produce the structural proteins that produce the spiky, roughly spherical exterior possessed by chikungunya viruses before they have entered a cell. The proteins then assembled themselves into harmless balls that resembled particles of Sindbis virus a relative of chikungunya and a fellow member of the alphavirus genus, which also includes a number of insect-borne viruses capable of causing dangerous encephalitis in humans.

Serum drawn from rhesus macaques injected with the virus-like particles contained substantial levels of antibodies that inactivated chikungunya virus. Two groups of macaques were then inoculated, either with virus-like particles or with a sham solution containing no vaccine. When the researchers challenged the monkeys by injection with chikungunya 15 weeks later, they found that the vaccine had completely protected the animals from the virus.

Dr.Gary Nabel, director of the NIAID's Vaccine Research Center and corresponding author on the Nature Medicine paper, said that the vaccine's effectiveness against chikungunya had led his group to plan follow-up investigations into whether the same approach would work against other alphaviruses, such as Western and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses (both responsible for periodic outbreaks in the United States), and Africa's o'nyong-nyong virus.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Experimental drug shows promise against brain, prostate cancers
2. French scientist wins the Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Prize 2009
3. Experimental treatments restore partial vision to blind people
4. Experimental treatment halts hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in newborns
5. 40 minority scientists receive travel fellowships to Experimental Biology 2009 in New Orleans
6. Survival in a Changing World: The Journal of Experimental Biology 2009 symposium
7. French scientist wins the Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Prize
8. Experimental chemotherapy regimen shows promise in treating advanced lung cancer
9. Experimental Biology and Medicine announces expansion into Asia, opens new office
10. Translational research patented first experimental treatment against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
11. Experimental Biology 2008 meets in San Diego April 5-9
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/14/2017)... , Feb. 14, 2017  Wake Forest Baptist ... as its new chief executive officer (CEO). Freischlag joins ... John D. McConnell , M.D., who last year ... at the Medical Center, after leading it since 2008. ... full scope of Wake Forest Baptist,s academic health system, ...
(Date:2/9/2017)... The biomass boiler market report by Transparency ... market globally in terms of revenue (US$ Mn) based ... for biomass boilers has been segmented on the basis ... The market based on feedstock type, has been segmented ... energy crops, urban residues, and others. On the basis ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... 2017 The biometrics market has reached ... of organizations, desires to better authenticate or identify ... and challenge questions), biometrics is quickly working its ... market is driven by use cases, though there ... enterprise uses cases, with consumer-facing use cases encompassing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... --  Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA), one of the ... of the company,s management team will present at the ... Monday, March 6, 2017 at approximately 4:00 p.m. Eastern ... . The live, listen-only webcast ... investors section of the company,s website at ir.invitae.com ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... ... February 20, 2017 , ... ... that it has been approved for full, active membership in the Canadian Direct ... was founded by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Olson in 2011. Today ...
(Date:2/20/2017)...  This Report analyzes the worldwide markets for Bioinformatics in US$ ... separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Canada , ... Asia-Pacific , Latin America , and ... http://www.reportlinker.com/p04707099-summary/view-report.html ... Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2015 through ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 20, 2017 , ... ... industrial metal detection solutions for the food and pharmaceutical processing and packaging industries, ... goes to the manufacturer that has done the most or taken the most ...
Breaking Biology Technology: