1 of 3 sites testing chikungunya vaccine

The University of Iowa is one of three sites in the U.S. enrolling healthy adult volunteers for a clinical trial of an experimental vaccine for chikungunya, a debilitating inflammatory virus carried by mosquitos. The first volunteer in the U.S. who received the vaccine is a UI Hospitals and Clinics employee.

Rarely fatal, chikungunya virus has been endemic in East Africa at least since it was first discovered in the 1950s. Chikungunya arrived in the Caribbean in late 2013 and has affected more than 2 million people in the Americas, according to the World Health Organization.

The participating trial sites—UI, Baylor College of Medicine, and Emory University—are part of a nine-member network of Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.