(HealthDay News) — A chikungunya virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine is immunogenic and seems safe, according to a study published online August 15 in The Lancet.

Lee-Jah Chang, MD, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues examined the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a new candidate vaccine for chikungunya virus in a phase 1, dose-escalation trial involving healthy adults aged 18–50 years. Twenty-five participants were assigned to sequential dose level groups to receive VLP chikungunya virus vaccine at 10µg (five participants), 20µg (10 participants), or 40µg (10 participants) on weeks zero, four, and 20, and were followed up for 44 weeks after enrollment.

The researchers found that the protocol was completed by all participants except two in the 40µg-dose group, with non-completion unrelated to adverse events. All 73 injections were well tolerated, with no evidence of serious adverse events. In all dose groups, neutralizing antibodies were detected after the second vaccination, and a significant boost was seen after the third vaccination. The geometric mean titers of the half maximum inhibitory concentration were 8,745, 4,525, and 5,390, for the 10µg, 20µg, and 40µg groups, respectively, at four weeks after the third vaccination.

“The chikungunya VLP vaccine was immunogenic, safe, and well tolerated,” the authors write. “This study represents an important step in vaccine development to combat this rapidly emerging pathogen.”

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