World’s first dengue vaccine approved

Dec 14, 2015 (LBO) – A vaccine against dengue fever, the mosquito borne virus fever, has won clearance in Mexico.

The vaccine is the first of its kind and can prevent all four types of the virus, which has appeared in Portugal, France, Florida and Japan recently and increased the risk of “explosive outbreaks,” a Bloomberg report quoting the World Health Organization said.

Sanofi, a pharmaceutical firm expects more approvals for the product, called Dengvaxia, from South America and Asia.

Unlike malaria, another disease spread by mosquitoes, dengue affects wealthier urban populations in middle-income countries in South America and Asia in addition to poorer African nations.

“Dengvaxia, developed over the past 20 years at a cost of 1.65 billion US dollars, including manufacturing investments, awaits approval in at least 19 other countries,” the report said.

“Mexico’s regulator endorsed it for people between the ages of 9 and 45 living in areas where the disease is endemic.”

Dengue infection causes flu-like illness that can develop into potentially fatal complications. Warning signs include bleeding gums, vomiting, rapid breathing and severe abdominal pain.

One recent estimate indicates about 390 million dengue infections per year, according to the WHO. It kills less than one percent of those infected.

In Sri Lanka, during the last 12 month of the year 2015, 26,662 suspected dengue cases have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit from all over the island.