New yellow fever vaccine trials underway

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The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial to determine if an experimental vaccine created by the Danish biopharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic is safe and effective.

The placebo-controlled, double-blinded study will enroll 90 total male and female participants who are healthy, between 18 and 45 years of age and have never been infected with a flavivirus. West Nile, Zika and yellow fever are all members of the flavivirus family. Study participants will be divided into six groups of 15 people each. One group will be administered the currently licensed yellow and the other five will be given the new experimental vaccine.

According to Bavarian Nordic, their product has successfully and safely immunized more than 7,600 people — 1,000 of which were immunocompromised — against yellow fever.

"Yellow fever has recently re-emerged as a major public health threat in parts of Africa. Although a vaccine exists to prevent this serious disease, it is currently in short supply, and it is not recommended for certain populations, such as pregnant women and people older than 60 years," said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, NIAID director. "We must develop new options for preventing this terrible disease."

Yellow fever is primarily transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus incites fever, back pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness and fatigue. Most recover, but about 15 percent of people develop severe infections which can cause jaundice and fatal liver, kidney or heart conditions. The recent outbreak of yellow fever in Africa has claimed the lives of 361 people in Angola.

More articles on infection control: 
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3 key risk factors for patient-to-patient transmission of resistant bacteria

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