First ever vaccine for chikungunya approved in the UStext_fields
Washington: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval for the world's first vaccine against the chikungunya virus, marking it as "an emerging global health threat."
Developed by Europe's Valneva, the vaccine, known as Ixchiq, has been authorised for individuals aged 18 and above who are at an increased risk of exposure to the virus.
Chikungunya is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and is prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and parts of the Americas.
The FDA highlighted the virus's global spread, reporting over 5 million cases in the past 15 years. The disease causes symptoms such as fever and severe joint pain.
The approval of Ixchiq is expected to facilitate its deployment in regions where chikungunya is most widespread. The vaccine is administered as a single dose, containing a live, weakened form of the chikungunya virus, following the standard approach for many vaccines.
Two clinical trials, involving 3,500 participants in North America, were conducted. Commonly reported side effects included headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, fever, and nausea. Serious reactions were observed in 1.6% of Ixchiq recipients, with two cases requiring hospitalisation.
FDA official Peter Marks highlighted the significance of the approval, addressing an unmet medical need and providing an essential advancement in preventing a potentially debilitating disease with limited treatment options.