Mexican health authorities have approved the first dengue vaccine for use against the infection common in underdeveloped countries.
Dengue vaccine, marketed as Dengavaxia, has undergone testing involving over 40,000 people of different ages and socio-economic backgrounds living in 15 countries. During the trial period, it was administered in three doses spaced out over a year. The vaccine is aimed at people aged 9 to 45 and will be used in Mexico where the disease is endemic. France-based Sanofi Pasteur got the privilege to produce the newly formed vaccine.
Dengavaxia, a tetravalent vaccine, is the world’s first vaccine approved to prevent dengue fever, which is a virus spread by mosquitoes primarily in tropical and sub-tropical areas. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, the vaccine had an average rate of effectiveness of about 60.8 percent in protecting against all four dengue virus serotypes.
Mexico is the first country to approve the use of the dengue vaccine while other countries where dengue is endemic are reviewing the vaccine. Sanofi released a statement stating that it has produced first doses of the vaccine. The multinational pharmaceutical company is expected to produce 100 million vaccine doses a year.
“When Sanofi set out to develop a dengue vaccine 20 years ago together with local and global public health and scientific communities, it was with the intention of developing an innovative vaccine to tackle this global public health need,” said Olivier Brandicourt, Chief Executive Officer at Sanofi.
About half of the world’s population is at risk of developing dengue fever, which is a growing public health threat. Dengue virus, the fastest-growing mosquito-borne infection, is reported to infect an estimated 390 million people annually, mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The deadliest form of the disease kills 22,000 people every year. IMAGE/AP