February 21, 2019

A monoclonal antibody against the chikungunya virus developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the first monoclonal antibody encoded by messenger RNA to enter a clinical trial.

Moderna Inc., a biotechnology firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that is focused on developing mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics, announced the clinical trial earlier this month.

The specific antibody against the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, which causes fever, rash, and sometimes debilitating joint pain, initially was identified in the blood of a previously infected person who developed potent immunity against the virus.

Researchers in the laboratory of James Crowe Jr., MD, who directs the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, isolated the messenger or mRNA that encodes the antibody protein.

Read more at VUMC chikungunya antibody set to enter clinical trial.