A patent perspective on chikungunya.Acta Trop 2019; 199:105131AT
Chikungunya is a viral disease caused by chikungunya virus (CHIKV) belonging to the Alphavirus genus and transmitted to humans by mosquitoes of Aedes spp. Nearly 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas have documented chikungunya cases. Most recent severe outbreaks have occurred in Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius and India. There is no specific drug treatment for the disease, neither is there a standardized vaccine available for prevention of the disease. The present review gives a global perspective on patents filed pertaining to chikungunya. The United States has been the top patent filing jurisdiction followed by China, Europe, and India. The patents have been classified into categories of therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines. Maximum patent documents fall under the therapeutics category, in which patent applications are predominantly related to chemically derived drugs. They include nucleic acid analogues, various other host and virus enzyme/protein inhibitors. Patents on biological or plant derived drugs are being filed relatively recently. In the category of diagnostics, immunoassay based tests seemed to be of choice until the year 2005, whereas, patent filings for molecular diagnostics have now surpassed those with immunoassay techniques. In the vaccines category, vaccines based on viral vectors appear to be emerging as the preferred vaccine platform with the majority of patents filed in the years 2014-2017. Corporate sector has the most patent filings to its credit, followed closely by academic institutions. Pasteur Institut along with Chinese Agency for Science, Technology and Research is the top patent filing entity in chikungunya related technology space. Presently, nine vaccine products, three antiviral drugs and one mRNA based gene therapy are under development. Three vaccine products have been given fast track designation by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite review and facilitate the development of a vaccine to prevent a serious or life-threatening condition and fill an unmet medical need. Similarly, one vaccine has been given PRIME (Priority Medicines) status by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).