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Integrated research on Chikungunya

A European study worked to understand the mosquito transmitted Chikungunya virus and the mechanism by which it causes outbreaks of debilitating joint pain and fever. To prevent and control disease outbreaks, a new diagnostic test, potential therapeutics and a candidate vaccine were developed.
Integrated research on Chikungunya
Chikungunya infection presents with a high fever and a debilitating arthralgia that can progress to chronic arthritis. The mosquitoes transmitting this virus are spreading in Europe raising concerns about further outbreaks.

The scope of the EU-funded ICRES (Integration of Chikungunya research) project was to coordinate research in the EU and beyond to enhance surveillance, diagnosis and understanding of the disease processes and provide solutions to prevent and control the disease.

The project greatly added to an understanding of the epidemiology of the disease through phylogenetic analysis of virus isolates from different parts of the world.

Analysis of the interactions between viral and cellular components, through protein-protein interaction studies and a genome-wide RNAi screen, led to the identification of a number of cellular molecules that promote or prevent virus replication.

Detailed characterisation of mouse and macaque models of the disease provided insight into Chikungunya pathogenesis and in particular the role of monocytes and macrophages in virus replication.

Consortium researchers reviewed and standardised procedures and laboratory assays and developed new diagnostic and prognostic assays. Screening of over 3,000 compounds provided lead antivirals. A pre-clinically validated vaccine was designed and tested and is ready for entry into human clinical trials.

In December 2013, Chikungunya spread to the Americas and within a year there were over a million cases. The ICRES consortium engaged with US colleagues to disseminate expertise and reagents. Project results could also be extrapolated to other alphavirus diseases such as Sindbis virus and Ross River virus and are of relevance to other cases of arthritis, arthralgia and viral fever.

Related information

Keywords

Chikungunya fever, virus, epidemiology, phylogenetic, vaccine
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