RALEIGH, N.C., June 19, 2014 – Arbovax, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company, has successfully demonstrated in an animal model the efficacy of its vaccine technology for the treatment of Chikungunya, a mosquito borne virus that has recently emerged in the US. “There was a major outbreak in the Caribbean that started last December in St Martin and quickly spread to other islands. To date there has been over 130,000 cases, so it was only a question of time before it came to the US and we have an effective means to combat it,” said Arbovax CEO Malcolm Thomas.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 17, 2014 there are 80 confirmed cases of Chikungunya in thirteen states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Fifty seven of those cases are in people who recently visited the Caribbean. Once a person becomes infected, there’s an incubation period of three to seven days. The most common signs of the virus are fever and multiple joint pains. The virus is not usually fatal but extremely painful; it arose in Africa in the 1950s, the name “Chikungunya” comes from the Makonde language meaning ‘bent out of shape” describing the contortion brought on by the pain of the virus
The Arbovax core technology is a whole virus vaccine developed by Drs. Dennis Brown and Raquel Hernandez of North Carolina State University. In animal tests, the vaccine has shown that it can provide a practical and cost-effective means to fight chikungunya and the technology can be adapted to other mosquito borne viral diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and yellow fever.