A vaccine induced a neutralising antibody response in adult volunteers and was assessed safe and well tolerated for eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV), western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV), and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) based on results of a phase 1 clinical trials conducted on 30 candidates.
Bites of infected mosquitoes cause EEEV, WEEV and VEEV to spread to humans. Horses are also susceptible to infection, but horses cannot transmit the viruses directly to humans. Infections in humans are rare but can lead to flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can also lead to severe neurological damage or death.
The results of a clinical trial have been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The US National Institutes of Health in a media release stated that a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine candidate that uses proteins from the outer shells of the viruses was designed as a part of the research. VLPs cannot cause infection as they do not contain the genetic material that the viruses need to replicate inside cells.
Encephalitis is inflammation of the active tissues of the brain due to an infection which causes the brain to swell. This can lead to headache, mental confusion, seizures, stiff neck and sensitivity to light.
It strikes 10 to 15 people per 100,000 each year and can affect anyone. Encephalitis is a condition where the body’s own immune responses attack the brain. The most common causes of viral encephalitis are herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus and enteroviruses, which cause gastrointestinal illness.
Encephalitis can also result from certain viruses carried by ticks and other insects or animals such as West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, La Crosse virus, St. Louis virus, Equine viruses, Powassan virus, Zika and Chikungunya. Other infectious microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and parasites can also cause encephalitis.