The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently began a Phase 1 clinical trial to examine an investigational vaccine that provides protection against a range of common mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as Zika virus, malaria, West Nile, and dengue fever.
The vaccine, called AGS-v, was developed by a joint venture of two London-based pharmaceutical companies, SEEK and hVIVO. Unlike other vaccines which transmit a small amount of the virus into a person’s bloodstream to trigger an immune response, the AGS-v vaccine targets mosquito saliva. It is designed to trigger antibodies to cause a modified allergic response to prevent infection when a person is bitten by a mosquito.
The clinical trial aims to enroll up to 60 healthy adults ages 18 to 50 years, all of which will be assigned one of three vaccine regimens. The first group will receive two injections of AGS-v, spaced 21 days apart. The next group will receive the same injection sequence, but with an added adjuvant, an oil and water mixture commonly added to vaccines to enhance immune responses. The final group will serve as a control, receiving injections of sterile water as a placebo.
“Mosquitoes cause more human disease and death than any other animal,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci said. “A single vaccine capable of protecting against the scourge of mosquito-borne diseases is a novel concept that, if proven successful, would be a monumental public health advance.”
Participants in the study will be asked to return every 60 days for five months to NIAID’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where the study is being conducted. A final clinic visit will take place approximately 10 months after the initial mosquito feeding to determine the vaccine’s overall effectiveness.