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Hunting a chikungunya vaccine

French scientists begin safety testing of vaccine to quell ever-growing outbreak of the mosquito virus

Clare Kittredge
As the Indian Ocean region continues to grapple with the largest recorded outbreak of the mosquito virus chikungunya, scientists in France have started laboratory safety testing of a chikungunya vaccine developed and abandoned years ago by the U.S. Army, then recently passed on to the French. If no prions or other contaminants are found in the U.S. vaccine, French scientists plan clinical trials next fall, according to Antoine Flahault, head of France's Chikungunya Research Task Force and director of France's new School of Public Health (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sante Publique). The first study would start in France next September in 100 Parisian hospital workers, followed two months later by a study of 500 volunteers in Reunion, a French island near Madagascar where a third of the population has been infected (266,000 cases, 250 deaths). A study in macaque monkeys, native to nearby Mauritius, is also planned....

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