Heartbeat 8/17/2014 Developing a Chikungunya Vaccine

Published 08/18 2014 12:00AM

Updated 08/18 2014 12:33AM

UNDATED -- An experimental vaccine to prevent the mosquito-spread virus Chikungunya is showing promise. Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases injected 25 volunteers with the vaccine and found antibodies developed. The antibodies lasted 11 months after their last shot.

“We have tested it to see if it's safe,” said Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “And apparently it is.”

Nearly 600 cases of Chikungunya have been reported in the US so far this year. While the virus is not usually deadly, many people get sick. Symptoms include fever, joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling and rash.

“Even when the acute disease is over, some percentage of people – about 20 percent – will go and have persistent joint symptoms for months to sometimes up to a year,” said Fauci.

Fauci says the next step is to test the vaccine in a much larger group. If successful, it would likely be available to people who live near outbreaks or those who frequently travel to those places.

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