The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday announced its approval of Ixchiq, the first chikungunya vaccine.
The vaccine, which is made by Valneva, is approved for anyone age 18 and older who has a risk of being exposed to the virus.
The chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through bites from infected mosquitoes.
“This virus is in a similar category as dengue or Zika and is carried by the same mosquitoes,” noted Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor.
The FDA described chikungunya as an “emerging global health threat,” with at least five million cases reported over the past 15 years.
“Infection with chikungunya virus can lead to severe disease and prolonged health problems, particularly for older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions,” said Peter Marks, M.D., PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a press release on Thursday.
“Today’s approval addresses an unmet medical need and is an important advancement in the prevention of a potentially debilitating disease with limited treatment options,” he also said.
Before the FDA’s approval, the vaccine’s safety was tested in clinical trials that included 3,500 adults.
Participants most commonly reported headache, muscle pain, fatigue, joint pain, nausea, fever and tenderness at the injection site as side effects.
A small share of recipients (1.6%) experienced adverse reactions, with two of the recipients needing to be hospitalized, per the FDA’s release.
In a separate study, the vaccine’s efficacy was measured based on the immune response data of 266 adult participants.
Almost all of them were shown to have protective antibody levels. (Fox News)
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