New Vaccine for Dengue Shows Promise

First Posted: Jul 14, 2014 08:06 AM EDT

A new vaccine could drastically reduce the "breakbone fever" or the mosquito-borne Dengue infection, say scientists.

Sanofi from France,the developer of the vaccine had disclosed in April that a clinical trial saw the vaccine reduce the risk of infection by 56 percent. The trial involved 10,275 healthy children aged between 2 and 14 across five countries in Asia.

Researchers said in the "Lancet" journal  that more than 50 percent of children who were vaccinated were protected against this disease.

The study was led by Dr Maria Rosario Capeding from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in the Philippines. She said the new vaccine is an immune booster, meaning in acts better on patients who have been already exposed to the infection. Consequently, it will be more effective in the tropical regions.

According to the World Health Organization, this deadly disease infects around 100 million people each year. Approximately 20,000 cases prove fatal annually, and a majority are children.

"Given that dengue is a major public health problem in most Asian countries the findings has the potential to have a huge impact on public health," said Dr Capeding to BBC.

Sanofi has invested over $1,77 billion in developing the vaccine and has built a dedicated factory near Lyon in southern France with a capacity of 100 million doses of vaccine a year, reports Reuters.

Prof Martin Hibberd of the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said,  "The biology of dengue is complex and has troubled researchers for many years."  

He was also dissatisfied with the 56 percent effectiveness of the vaccine.  Patients who have been vaccinated should be observed for 5 years to ensure that it is effective and secure, suggests Proff Hibberd.

Some other scientists say that the vaccine's efficacy with serotype 2 is not clear.  

This study was published in "The Lancet medical journal".

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