Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), has taken a research initiative to test Japanese encephalitis vaccine. 
ICDDR,B – a global health research institution in Dhaka – in collaboration with PATH and GVK Bio, India, will conduct the study on Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine for the first time in Bangladesh, the health research institute has said.
The vaccine study at Matlab in Chandpur will enroll 1,000 Bangladeshi children aged 10-12 months, who have completed all doses of WHO-recommended EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization) vaccines at least four weeks prior to the JE vaccination. 
The overall safety of the vaccine, and how it affects the human immune system (immunogenicity), will be assessed following vaccination.
In early March, the ICDDR,B conducted a training at its Matlab Health Research Centre for staff on the vaccine study and good clinical practices.
The study aims to assess the overall safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of the JE vaccine in different lots manufactured by Chengdu Institute of Biological Products, Beijing, China.
Japanese encephalitis virus is a zoonotic virus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans under certain conditions, though it is chiefly spread by mosquitoes. The JE virus is the most frequently documented cause of viral encephalitis in Asia. 
It has a high case-fatality rate (10-30 percent), and it is estimated that around 30,000 to 50,000 contract the JE virus each year in Asia, resulting in 10,000 to 15,000 deaths — mostly among children under 15 years. 
The disease may lead to death or lifelong neurological defects such as deafness and paralysis. As there is no specific treatment for this viral disease, vaccination is the best way to prevent Japanese encephalitis (JE) and its associated morbidity and mortality.
“The results of the study will provide data on safety and immunogenicity of the JE vaccine for the first time amongst children in Bangladesh. This will be the first step in securing licensure for this life-saving vaccine here, as well as to providing data to support WHO prequalification of  JE live attenuated SA 14-14-2 vaccine,” Dr. K. Zaman, senior scientist at ICDDR,B and principal investigator of the study, said in a statement.
BBN/SSR/AD-23Mar12-11:50 pm (BST)