Help for Rift Valley fever

Team of researchers finds vaccine for life-threatening African disease

A team of researchers from three U.S. universities has developed two genetically engineered vaccines for Rift Valley fever, which has caused severe illness in livestock and people in Africa and the Middle East, according to a University of California, Davis press release.

The team—composed of researchers from UC Davis, the University of Connecticut and the University of Texas Medical Branch—created the two vaccines, which have effectively treated the viral disease in livestock. The vaccines still need to be developed further for safe human use. In coming up with the new vaccines, the researchers used the vaccinia virus, which was used to develop the smallpox vaccine.

In humans, the potentially fatal Rift Valley fever causes fever, vision loss, and liver and kidney disorder. There is concern that the disease, which originated in the Rift Valley of Kenya and is transmitted via mosquito, could spread to Asia and the Americas.