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Saint Louis University launches dengue vaccine study

Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes.
(Photo credit: USDA/ARS)
Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes.

By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – Saint Louis University is initiating a study of a potential vaccine for dengue, a leading cause of illness in the tropics and subtropics.

Currently, there is no vaccine against dengue.

Like malaria, dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes. People in more than 100 countries are at risk of contracting the potentially lethal virus.

Lead researcher Dr. Sarah George of Saint Louis University says dengue is nicknamed "break bone fever" for the severe pain it causes in bones, muscles, and joints.

George says the SLU study would be the first in a series of clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in humans. "This is a vaccine based on a weakened, live, dengue virus, which has already been tested in twenty-five people."

Seventy-two adult volunteers will participate in the Phase 1 trial, which will take about 15 months to complete.

There are between 50 and 100 million new cases of dengue each year, of which about 20,000 are fatal.

For more information about the study, contact the Saint Louis University Center for Vaccine Development at vaccine@slu.edu or (314) 977-6333.