First dengue fever vaccine shows promise

Scientists in the Philippines claim they’ve produced the first vaccine to fight dengue fever.



While it is still only effective on 56 per cent of people – it is the only treatment available for dengue, which is a severe and potentially deadly disease, infecting millions of people around the world.


For many Australians, a mosquito bite is nothing more than an itchy nuisance, but in other countries it can be deadly


Dengue fever infects more than 200 million people worldwide every year, mostly in South East Asia and Latin America.


Sydney sider Simon Kennedy is one of them.


He contracted Dengue fever on a trip to Delhi with his young family


“Within two or three days I had a really high fever, about 39 or 40 degrees and had to be hospitalised for 10 days.”


Rapid growth in the cities of developing countries and a lack of mosquito control has led to a rise in the spread of the disease.


But now scientists from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila claim they have developed a new vaccine and they claim they’re ready to take it to market


Dr Maria Rosario Capeding is from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.


“Dengue is a major public health problem and the study shows it reduces the severity of the disease.”


The trial focused on children aged two to 14.


They were randomly assigned to receive three injections of the dengue vaccine or a placebo vaccine.


After the first vaccination, the second was given six months later and the third six months after that.


The children were followed for up to two years.


The results showed the vaccine only prevented dengue fever in 56 percent of the 10,000 children who got the shots, but it did protect more than 88 percent of them from severe disease.


In the worst-case scenarios, dengue fever can lead to hospitalization, and sometimes death.


Prof Martin Hibberd is from the London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.


“Typically vaccines have a higher efficacy than 56 per cent, but in the abscence of anything else this at least a little bit of good news.”


Professor Ian Wronski is an expert in communicable diseases at Townville’s James Cook University.


He has concerns about the efficiacy of the vaccine – especially because it wasn’t equally effective against all four dengue viruses.


“I think its a step forward, the science is improving but i think theres a way to go before you’d deploy the vaccine.”


The vaccine makers say they plan to apply for regulatory approval next year.


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