A new vaccine for dengue fever, an infection carried by mosquitoes that causes serious flu-like symptoms, is being tested at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, according to a National Institutes of Health press release.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have been developing the dengue vaccine for more than a decade, and it is ready for clinical study.
Cases of dengue fever have been reported in Florida in July and August, and an effective vaccine could eliminate infection from the 2.5 billion people at risk in over 100 countries.
Until now there has been no cure or treatment for dengue fever, and a severe form of the virus can be fatal. Symptoms include high fever, nausea, headache and joint and muscle aches. Dengue fever causes 25,000 deaths per year, mostly in tropical regions where more mosquitoes live.
“Controlling the mosquito vector can work, but it is very expensive and difficult to sustain,” Dr. Anna Durbin, who is leading the study at Johns Hopkins, said in a statement. “In the long run, vaccination would be a more efficient and cost-effective approach.”
After the initial clinical study, a second wave of testing will determine the effectiveness. The vaccine could be ready for final testing on patients in three to four years.