A vaccine that combines key parts of two viruses has been shown to protect monkeys from West Nile virus---a mosquito-borne illness that has killed 10 Americans this year, including seven in Colorado.
Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases--- one of the National Institutes of Health---reported making the vaccine by placing West Nile virus proteins into a modified virus that causes dengue fever. This created a live but weakened virus.
Researchers say when injected into monkeys---the hybrid virus
protected the animals from injected doses of West Nile virus. Officials say human clinical trials are to start later this year.
As of Monday, August 18th, nearly 400 people in Colorado have contracted West Nile Virus. Of those, seven cases have been fatal.
Americans are just beginning to build immunity to the West Nile virus---but could get some help from Israelis, who have been shrugging it off for years.
As many as 35 medical schools around the country, including the
University of Colorado, could begin clinical trials this summer of a
treatment developed from blood of Israelis who have survived the
potentially fatal infection.
The trial will use blood plasma from the Israeli survivors to
Larimer County declared a health emergency after its West Nile caseload more than doubled in a week to 121. Colorado leads the nation in West Nile cases with nearly 400 cases---including seven deaths. Two of the fatalities have been from Larimer County.
Ann Watson of the county health department in Fort Collins says declaring an emergency will encourage local governments to increase
spraying programs or begin them if they haven't already. She says local governments also will have more power to access public lands for spraying.
Watson says last year the federal government made $17million available to the state to fight the virus but so far this year no money has been allocated.