Zydus Cadila, a global healthcare provider, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, one of the world´s largest pharmaceutical companies, announced a partnership to develop vaccine for chikungunya, an emerging infectious disease.
The broadbased agreement includes early stage development to the final commercialisation of the vaccine against chickungunya. There is currently no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat this virus infection.
“By partnering with Takeda on this very important research and development initiative and leveraging our development capabilities, we will be taking an all important step to prevent the disease burden which is highly prevalent in developing countries and causes suffering and disability,” said Pankaj R. Patel, Chairman and Managing Director, Zydus group.
Chikungunya has been identified in over 60 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and the US.
“Our belief is that chikungunya can be prevented by vaccines, and that a vaccine might be licensed more quickly if we can accelerate development with this Zydus partnership,¨ said Dr. Rahul Singhvi, Takeda Vaccines Chief Operating Officer.
Since 2005, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar and Thailand have reported over 1.9 million cases and almost 1.3 million suspected cases of Chikungunya being recorded in the Caribbean islands, Latin American countries, and the United States of America till 2015.
The chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the same vectors that spread dengue and zika.
After the bite of an infected mosquito, illness occurs usually between 4 and 8 days but can range from 2 to 12 days. In some people, the joint pain may persist for months.
The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean.
People at risk for severe indications include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (>65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
Terms of the agreement are not disclosed, but it is expected that this partnership will boost access to medicines in the future through this novel partnership.