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Researchers Create New Chikungunya Vaccine That Requires No Refrigeration

Science Advances Today published the results of the Chikungunya vaccine study. The vaccine was created by researchers from CNRS and the University of Bristol.

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Updated:September 29, 2019, 3:13 PM IST
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Researchers Create New Chikungunya Vaccine That Requires No Refrigeration
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria are seen inside a laboratory tube before being released in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares - RC1CABD69F30

There have been continuous efforts and researchers to find new ways to treat the mosquito-borne diseases. While most vector-borne diseases stop being in use due to the complications related to them, the scientists may have found the changed way in which Chikungunya vaccines can be designed, produced, and stored. This has been possible with the creation of a new type of synthetic vaccine. This vaccine can be stored at warmer temperatures, without the need for refrigeration.

Earlier this week, Science Advances Today published the results of the Chikungunya vaccine study. The vaccine was created by researchers from CNRS and the University of Bristol. They teamed up together with computer technology company Oracle. The published study shows an engineered synthetic protein that revolutionizes the reach and mobility of protection against Chikungunya, a mosquito-transmitted virus.

Pascal Fender, an expert virologist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), said, “We were working with a protein that forms a multimeric particle resembling a virus but is completely safe because it has no genetic material inside. Completely by chance, we discovered that this particle was incredibly stable even after months, without refrigeration.”

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne disease, which is caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV). The virus is spread between people by two types of mosquitos: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, which ususally bite during the day. The common symptoms of the fever include fever and joint pain. However, within weeks, other symptoms also begin to appear, including headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and a rash.

Since its first outbreak in sub-Saharan Africa, it has spread globally. This is usually due to travelling, but also a result of climate change and deforestation of mosquitoes’ natural habitat.

“We were thoroughly delighted,” said Imre Berger, director of the Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology in Bristol, adding, “Viruses are waiting to strike, and we need to have the tools ready to tackle this global threat. Our vaccine candidate is easy to manufacture, extremely stable, and elicits a powerful immune response. It can be stored and transported without refrigeration to countries and patients where it is most needed. Intriguingly, we can now rapidly engineer similar vaccines to combat many other infectious diseases just as well.”

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