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January 24, 2014
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Upstate seeks participants for dengue vaccine trial

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Individuals who are between the ages of 18 and 45 and in good health are needed to participate in an Upstate Medical University clinical trial to test the effectiveness of an investigational vaccine against the four types of dengue virus.

The trial is conducted through Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science and led by Upstate researcher and infectious disease specialist Mark E. Polhemus, M.D. It is funded through the U.S. Department of Defense.

While it is still an investigational vaccine, it has already been evaluated in a number of other trials around the world, and the results from these  trials indicate no safety issues regarding use of the vaccine. According to Polhemus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of this investigational vaccine in this trial.

“Upstate’s trial is designed to further evaluate the immune response to this investigational vaccine,” said Polhemus. “It is our hope that through this trial we can get a better understanding of how the vaccine can lead to protection against dengue,” he said.

Dengue fever is a debilitating disease that is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics and is now emerging as a public health threat in the United States, with cases in Florida, the Texas border and recently on Long Island. It is caused by one of four related viruses transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a mosquito that lays its eggs in containers with standing water commonly found around people’s homes. The virus cannot be spread directly from person-to-person. There is no vaccine or drug currently available to prevent the disease.

Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science is among research institutions worldwide conducting dengue vaccine trials.

To learn more about the trial or to participate, call 315-459-3031 or email,

Caption: Mark E. Polhemus, MD, medical director of Upstate’s Center for Global Health & Translational Science, is leading a clinical trial of an investigational vaccine for the dengue virus.

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