US researchers hopeful for dengue vaccine

SAN JUAN, February 17, 2011 (AFP) – Promising advances have been made in the testing of possible vaccines to prevent the mosquito-borne dengue virus, which kills 25,000 people every year, researchers said Thursday. “There’s been tremendous progress,” he said. “There are a number of vaccines that are now in clinical trials and there’s now very exciting information there, so we are finally getting (into the last process) but it can take a while.”

Fauci, from the NIH, added: “We need a better understanding of the relationship between the dengue virus and the vector, mainly the mosquito.”

Meanwhile, surveillance is vital.

“The important factor is how good our surveillance is to pick up the disease,” Margolis said. “I think right now we know where it is and now we need to be creative with the new tools and research to try to make sure that doesn’t go any further.”

The infectious diseases division of the NIH spent $45 million in dengue research last year, up from $5 million in 2000.

One theory for the resurgence is global warming, allowing the mosquitoes, and hence dengue fever, to spread.

Drought conditions in some areas also have worsened the outbreak because people have stored water in a