U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Public Affairs Office
810 Schreider Street
Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5000
Point of Contact:
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
For Immediate Release -- April 3, 2009
WRAIR Technology helps create Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine
(Fort Detrick, Md.) - Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) developed the technology which, through a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), was transferred to a commercial company who used their own resources to achieve licensure of the Japanese encephalitis vaccine that will be used by the DoD.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Intercell's IXIARO, a vaccine to prevent Japanese encephalitis (JE) March 30.
JE, which is caused by a mosquito-transmitted virus, is found mainly in Asia. As JE is a serious and growing public health threat in Asia, military personnel will now have an efficacious and safe vaccine to protect themselves during deployments.
In Asia, JE affects about 30,000 to 50,000 people each year, resulting in 10,000 to 15,000 deaths. The virus that causes JE affects membranes around the brain and mild infections can occur without apparent symptoms other than fever and headache. In people who develop severe disease, JE usually starts as a flu-like illness but can worsen, causing high fever, neck stiffness, brain damage, coma, or even death. The disease is transmitted via infected mosquitoes; it is not spread from human to human.
The Institute also participated in the conduct of the pivotal clinical trials. U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) functioned as the liaison between the Military Vaccines Agency (MILVAX), and the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP).
The process started over 10 years ago. The original CRADA was initiated between WRAIR and Cheil Jedang America, Inc., in 1995 and three years later, a sublicense was granted to VaccGen. In 2004, VaccGen partnered with Intercell to obtain funding to complete clinical trials.
No treatment is currently available for JE and only vaccination effectively prevents the disease. This new vaccine was necessitated by the need to replace out-dated technologies used for the previous JE vaccine.
USAMRMC will continue to study and monitor this vaccine for safety and efficacy.
For more information about the JE vaccine, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/jencephalitis/
For more information about the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, visit http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil.
For more information about WRAIR, visit www.wrair.army.mil
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is the Army's medical materiel developer, with lead agency responsibility for medical research, development and acquisition, medical logistics management, medical information management/information technology and medical health facility planning.
The mission of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is to conduct biomedical research that is responsive to DOD and U.S. Army requirements and delivers life saving products including knowledge, technology, and medical materiel that sustain the combat effectiveness of the warfighter.
The mission of the congressionally mandated Office of Research and Technology Applications is to assure the transfer of federally owned or originated technology to the nonfederal sector for approval and manufacture and to optimize all opportunities for WRAIR investigators to collaborate with the private sector.