After years of launching campaigns to prevent travelers from contracting the chikungunya virus, there is finally a vaccine that can help people fight this tropical mosquito-borne disease. It was announced on Thursday, November 9, when the United States approved the vaccine.
What is the Chikungunya virus?
This virus is present in tropical regions of the world, such as Africa, Southeast Asia, and some regions of America. But in the last 15 years, the disease has spread worldwide, with at least 15 million cases.
Among the common symptoms of the Chikungunya virus are a sudden high fever and joint pain. These symptoms last from several months to years. The disease is life-threatening; it can be fatal to children whose mothers pass the virus to them.
According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the number of registered cases is increasing worldwide, so it is necessary to create a vaccine against this virus.
“Chikungunya virus infections can cause severe and long-term health problems, especially in the elderly and people with a medical history,” explained Peter Marks, a senior official at the US agency.
The Ixchiq vaccine is against chikungunya
The vaccine, called Ixchiq, was developed by Valneva, a Franco-Austrian biotechnology company specializing in travel vaccines.
Like any vaccine, Ixchiq contains an attenuated virus to fight and prevent the spread of this disease, especially for those over 18 years of age who dare to travel. The vaccine comes in one dose, and it protects people from contracting it.
In North America, clinical trials were conducted on thousands of people, which gave good results to the vaccine because many people had side effects such as fatigue, headaches, nausea, and muscle pain. It should be mentioned that although everything turned out to be a victory, in the process, two people had to go to the hospital.
After the successful approval of Ixchiq, Valneva’s laboratory also applied for approval from the EMA, the European Medicines Agency. At the same time, the biotechnology company is working on another vaccine against Lyme disease. The latter can be sold in 2026 in the United States.