e development because of their considerable global impact.
"We would love to get a vaccine developed for viruses in this class, called arthropod-borne, or as they are commonly called, arboviruses," Wright said. "If we could get one for West Nile, it could be a model for other vaccines."
The vaccine under investigation is built on a backbone of the Dengue virus with bits of the West Nile virus inserted. This method, called a chimeric vaccine, is a relatively new way to engineer a vaccine, Wright said.
"It's conceptually a very interesting vaccine," he said. "It's live but weakened, which has recently been postulated to be the ideal form of immunization…in terms of its broad stimulation of the immune response."
The researchers will test the safety of this vaccine as well as its ability to induce an immune response in healthy volunteers age 18 to 50. The study will also help identify an optimal dosage of the vaccine.
"We can learn a lot from it, and we can measure a lot of things that will inform us about how these vaccines work," Wright said.
Until an effective vaccine is found, public health officials urge the public to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. This includes using insect repellent when outdoors, limiting time spent outside around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
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