First Vaccine for Chikungunya
- Recently, the world’s first vaccine for chikungunya was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S.
- The vaccine has been developed by European vaccine manufacturer Valneva and will be available under the brand Ixchiq.
- It has been approved for administration in people who are 18 years or older, and are at increased risk of exposure to the virus.
- It was approved using the Accelerated Approval pathway, which allows the FDA to clear certain products for serious or lifethreatening conditions based on evidence of a product’s effectiveness that is likely to provide clinical benefit.
What is chikungunya?
- It is a viral infection (CHIKV) transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.
- It has been described as “an emerging global health threat.”
- It is characterised by severe joint pain and impaired mobility, and comes with fever.
- The WHO fact sheet says Chikungunya is prevalent in Africa, Asia, and the Americas; but sporadic outbreaks have been reported in other regions.
- Prevention includes mosquito control activities, primarily falling under public health outreach and routine civic maintenance.
- Individuals are also advised to use medicated mosquito nets and ensure that there is no water stagnation in any containers at home, in order to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
- Most people infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms. Symptoms usually begin 3–7 days after an infected mosquito bites you.
- The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain.
- Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
- People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
- Most patients feel better within a week. However, joint pain can be severe and disabling and may persist for months.
- Death from chikungunya is rare.
What is the vaccine composition?
- Ixchiq is administered as a single dose by injection into the muscle.
- It contains a live, weakened version of the chikungunya virus and may cause symptoms in the vaccine recipient similar to those experienced by people who have the disease.
- Its safety was evaluated in two clinical studies conducted in North America in which about 3,500 participants, 18 years of age and older, received a dose of the vaccine with the other study including about 1,000 participants receiving a placebo.
- The most reported side effects by vaccine recipients were headache, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, fever, nausea and tenderness at the injection site.
- The effectiveness of the vaccine was based on immune response data from a clinical study conducted in the U.S. in individuals 18 years of age and older.