2023-08-14| Trials & Approvals

Bavarian Nordic Closes on Valneva in Chikungunya Vaccine Race

by GeneOnline
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Bavarian Nordic presented positive data for their Phase 3 clinical trial for their Chikungunya vaccine candidate in patients ages 12 to 64. This follows the release of positive data on June 20 their other phase 3 trial in patients 65 or older. Bavarian Nordic is preparing for regulatory submission in 2024 for their vaccine candidate. With this positive data from both of their trials, Bavarian Nordic is catching up with Valneva in the race to release the first chikungunya vaccine. 

Related Article: Valneva’s Breakthrough Chikungunya Single-shot Vaccine: Release Phase 3 Data

Bavarian’s Vaccine Trial Results 

Bavarian Nordic is a company focused on the development and production of vaccines. The data for their second phase 3 trial demonstrated the vaccine was highly immunogenic and well tolerated in the 12-64 age group. The results showed high levels of immunity at 2 weeks and at 6 months after a single immunization. This indicates a fast and long-lasting response to the vaccine. The vaccine company is focusing on preparing for the regulatory submission, which will hopefully happen in 2024. 

Previously this year, they released the data for their other Phase 3 trial of the same vaccine in adults 65 or older. This study successfully met its endpoints and was well tolerated by the participants. During the study, the vaccine showed a fast onset of protection, as it was observed that 82% of the participants had seroprotective antibodies 15 days after the injection. By day 22, about 87% of participants had neutralizing antibodies above the threshold required for seroprotection. 

Chikungunya and Chikungunya Vaccines 

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans through mosquitoes. The disease is caused by the chikungunya virus (CHIKV). CHIKV is a single-stranded positive sense RNA virus that belongs to the Togaviridae and the genus Alphavirus. Other viruses from this family include the eastern equine encephalitis virus. The main symptoms experienced by patients are fever and severe joint pain. It is often misdiagnosed as it shares similar symptoms with other mosquito-borne viruses like dengue and zika. Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for the CHIKV virus. 

Although chikungunya’s mortality rate is low, its symptoms can persist for months after the original infection. The disease affects many people worldwide. Mainly affecting countries in Africa and Asia, with more recent outbreaks occurring in the Americas. Presently, there is a great need for a vaccine as many of the countries affected lack adequate healthcare infrastructure, which can lead to an aggravation of disease burden. This makes for a very lucrative vaccine market, which has made many companies push to develop their own vaccines. 

Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine is a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine. VLP vaccines are composed of self-assembling structural proteins that resemble virions but don’t contain genomic nucleic acids. These virion-like proteins are not infectious; nevertheless, they are able to trigger an immune response that confers the needed protection. On the other hand, the vaccine being developed by Valvena is a live-attenuated virus vaccine. This type of vaccine utilizes a weakened form of the virus to induce an immune response. These vaccines show limited replication in humans, generally resulting in no disease or a mild form of it. 

Hope for Chikungunya Treatment 

There is currently a great unmet need for patients with Chikungunya, as there is no specific treatment for it. The development of a vaccine has the potential to change the disease’s treatment and prevent future chikungunya infections. The race intensifies as companies get closer to releasing their vaccine candidates. Ultimately, the development of these vaccines offers hope to the areas and populations affected by this disease.

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