Check for chikungunya

In a first, Indian scientists develop vaccine against the disease

By Biplab Das
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A street play to raise awareness against dengue and chikungunya in Jamshedpur

CHIKUNGUNYA, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, had almost disappeared from India in 1973. But it is slowly re-emerging and has affected thousands of people in recent years. Efforts to develop a vaccine against the disease spread by Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes have repeatedly failed. In absence of any specific line of treatment, the disease wreaks havoc. The patients can only be given drugs to treat the symptoms like chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain and rashes.

Researchers from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune have now developed two vaccines for the disease. One consists of a protein sourced from the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and the other contains the whole virus that has been chemically inactivated. Laboratory experiments have shown that the vaccines offer complete protection against the disease in female mice.

The vaccine has been developed using the East/Central/South African (ECSA) type of the virus. The virus is classified into Asian, ECSA and West African types based on the differences in the structure of a protein known as E1. The protein ensures the survival of the virus inside the mosquitoes.

This is one of the four proteins responsible for the formation of the envelope or the outer wrapping of the body of the Chikungunya virus. Previous attempts towards developing a vaccine against chikungunya were made using inactivated Asian type viruses. The vaccine was, however, withdrawn as it showed adverse reactions during clinical trials. In India, the previous outbreaks were caused by the virus of Asian type but a shift to ECSA has been noted recently.

For the new vaccines, the NIV researchers used the Chikungunya virus isolated during the 2006 outbreak from a patient’s body. They prepared two vaccine formulations for the experiment. First consisted of a whole virus inactivated by either formalin or beta-propiolactone (BPL) and the other one had a recombinant E2 viral protein (rE2p) in alum. Different adjuvants, chemicals that are used to enhance the efficacy of drugs and vaccines, like alum, were used in the preparations for the experiments.

For the experiment, female mice were injected with two doses of a vaccine at a gap of two weeks. They were then infected with the Chikungunya virus, first after two weeks of the vaccination and then again after 20 weeks. After a few days, it was observed that no virus survived in the body of these mice. On the other hand, brain, spleen, muscles and blood of the control mice, which were not vaccinated, exhibited high levels of the virus.

“We found that the vaccine containing the virus inactivated by bpl had an edge over the formalin-inactivated preparation,” says lead researcher Vidya A Arankalle of NIV. She, however, says the rE2p vaccine prepared in alum is safer and easier to purify and large number of doses can be prepared in short time. This formulation is, therefore, best suited for the chikungunya vaccine, she adds. The findings have been published in Vaccine on September 21.

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  • First get rid of those dogs,

    First get rid of those dogs, then Chikungunya and Dengue will go away. Dengue Fever is a Zoonosis, a disease occurring primarily in mammalian animals that can be transmitted to humans. The viruses responsible for this disease survive in nature as infections in animals; human infection is not necessary for their survival. Dengue Fever is an Arboviral infection, the viruses being transmitted by arthropod vectors such as ticks. House dogs and street dogs are the common Animal Reservoir Hosts to these viruses, as almost all of these animals are tick-affected. The recent outbreaks of Dengue Fever in Kerala were exclusively caused by the millions of dogs roaming the streets and in the houses. Otherwise the healthy and clean people of Kerala would not have succumbed this much easily to this disease and this much frequently too. Actually, reports from Kerala and many other states indicate that the country has been in the grip of dog-transmitted diseases for long. Thousands of people there are daily admitted to hospitals following severe group attacks by dogs in the streets. The recent outbreaks of Dengue Fever rendered health services helpless, claimed hundreds of human lives and incapacitated tens of thousands more. Everyone talked about mosquitoes, stagnant pools, dirty canals and the like, but no one admitted the possibility of these diseases being spread from dogs, lest it would be commented as trivial. With this many dogs on the loose in streets and houses, there may occur yet more outbreaks of Dengue and Congo Fevers in India which would be fatal. The health authorities and dog lovers know this but they fear revealing this for fear of retaliation from amorous dog lovers. Chikungunya is a viral disease closely similar to Dengue fever that recently swept through Africa, Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Europe and America. As the African name denotes, it causes a contorted and stooped appearance and may take years and decades for the patient to get a slight relief. Full recovery is never. There is no treatment or vaccine available for this disease. Victims are incapacitated and cannot work or earn a living for many years. The destructing power of this virus is such that it is considered as an ideal agent for future biological weapons and warfare.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Chikungunya is an Arboviral

    Chikungunya is an Arboviral infection which need an animal reservoir host for the virus to survive and thrive in nature. It will need an animal reservoir host or a primate other than men to reside in and multiply for a time. Usually they are monkeys and dogs. Outbreaks of this disease happened very recently and very frequently too. Nothing especially happened in the environmental conditions of the world which was why world health authorities could not predict the coming of this disease. What they could not see clearly and take into account was the number of dogs increasing inconceivably everywhere. Or even if they knew, they were forced to remain silent about it, knowing well the iron hand of dog-lovers, many of whom the dignitaries who design and govern the modern world. Assuming all things in the environment remained the same, and also given that the number of some available animal host increased in the world considerably lately so as to cause repeated massive outbreaks of this disease, we are forced to believe that it was only the number of dogs in the world that increased lately, due to nations one after another blindly passing laws banning the killing of dogs. Even W.H.O. articles on Chikungunya carefully remain vague about the role of the abundance of dogs in bringing about this disease which is sweeping through almost all continents. Some get a few minutesÔÇÖ pleasure from dogs and the world pays too high a price for the pleasure to be justified. All research organizations working in this field, including the W. H. O. are very careful in avoiding the words Arboviral Infection, Animal Reservoir Hosts, Monkeys, Dogs, etc when they make learned talk about Chikungunya. Are they plain and adamant dog lovers or are they interested in human health? This farce has been going on for a long time. When they have to prove the usefulness of the huge amounts of money granted to them, they will come up with some new article, research or warning regarding chikungunya, publish some new boring jargon about mosquitoes and hide effectively the name of the real animal carriers of this virus. Why don't they dismantle these organizations which do not tell people the truth about things when the actual reason for the spreading of diseases stems from their own lovely pets? Who believe these organizations that hide the truth about Dengue and Chikungunya?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • There is a very good remedy

    There is a very good remedy in homeopathy for chikungaya like Ledum Pal. But homeopathy generally is very symptom or case/time specific and there are more than a 1000 remedies in it. So general remedies are not always a good idea--only a good homeopath/software can narrow down the best remedy for a particular patient at a particular time.

    Similarly there are very good remedies in ayurveda too. DTE is a little biased in its coverage of health problems and solutions because it gets free journals/magazines from the medical/allopathic industry. Perhaps it needs to get non-english international/quality Indian magazines/books/journals from the alternative medicine world such as homeopathy/ayurveda etc too. The researchers will then know cutting edge research or rediscovery of knowledge from Germany/Switzerland/France/UK etc too in the field of alternative medicine.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Chikungunya according to

    Chikungunya according to Rajiv Dixit on youtube is curable since time immemorial with the concoction of tulsi leaves or neem leaves. Even 3 doses of the homeopathic remedy ocimum canum 200 cures it.
    So are these pseudo allopathic scientists real discoverers or reinventing the wheel and tomtomming their achievements through an equally ignorant media?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply