In this final of 3 segments of an interview with ICT, Thomas Rademacher, Emergex co-founder, delves into T cell-based vaccines for chikungunya, likening immune programming to software, emphasizing the urgency of prevention in endemic regions.
In a recent interview with Infection Control Today® (ICT®), Thomas Rademacher, MD, PhD, discussed the first-ever vaccine approved for chikungunya and possible future prevention measures for this disease that can be severe for young children, older persons, pregnant women, and individuals with long-term conditions. In this third and final segment of the interview, Rademacher speaks on how T Cells work to create vaccines and how Emergex is using that technology to create new vaccines.
Rademacher is the emeritus professor of molecular medicine at University College London, London, England, and the co-founder of Emergex.
"It's like software programming, you're simply programming the immune system,” Rademacher said. “You're not really vaccinating it; you're simply programming it [to protect the human body]. And so, you have to know what the program is that you want to do, and then how to deliver it.”
Chikungunya is an RNA virus primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It causes an illness characterized by sudden high fever, severe joint pain, rash, and muscle pain. The name "chikungunya" comes from an African word that means "to become contorted," alluding to the arthritic symptoms that make infected individuals appear twisted in pain. Although chikungunya is rarely fatal, its debilitating symptoms can persist for weeks or months, affecting a person's quality of life. Despite the recent FDA-approved vaccine, prevention through mosquito control measures and vaccines remains crucial in endemic regions. Chikungunya has been identified in over 110 countries worldwide.