Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, are testing a new vaccine designed to target mosquito saliva to protect against mosquito-borne diseases.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, part of the NIH, has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial of a new vaccine that could provide widespread protection against a variety of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever.
The vaccine, AGS-v, was created by London-based pharmaceutical company SEEK, and is designed to trigger an immune response to mosquito saliva instead of a specific virus or parasite.
AGS-v is made up of four synthetic proteins from mosquito salivary glands and are designed to induce antibodies in a vaccinated person to cause a modified allergic response to prevent infection.
"Mosquitoes cause more human disease and death than any other animal," Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID director, said in a press release. "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."
The trial will consist of 60 healthy adults ages 18 to 50 and will divide participants into three groups. The first group will receive two injections of AGS-v 21 days apart. The second group will receive two injections of AGS-v combined with an adjuvant of an oil and water mixture 21 days apart, and the third group will receive two injections with placebos of sterile water 21 days apart.
After 21 days, the participants will be exposed to biting mosquitoes that do not carry viruses or parasites in a controlled environment.
The Phase 1 clinical trial is expected to be complete by summer 2018.