The world”s first vaccine against dengue fever, being developed by French drugmaker Sanofi SA, protected against three of the virus”s four strains in a keenly awaited clinical trial in Thailand. Sanofi said on Wednesday the proof of efficacy was a key milestone in the 70-year quest to develop a viable dengue shot, adding the results also confirmed the safety profile of its vaccine candidate, which could reach the market in 2015. Other drug companies are also working on dengue vaccines but Sanofi”s product is several years ahead. The mosquito-borne disease, also known as “breakbone fever”, is a threat to nearly 3 billion people and is caused by four different types of virus, none of which confers immunity from the others. Sanofi”s vaccine generated an antibody response for all four dengue virus types, but evidence of protection was only demonstrated against three of the four strains circulating in Thailand. Sanofi said researchers were carrying out analyses to understand the lack of protection for the fourth serotype. Large-scale late-stage Phase III clinical studies with 31,000 participants are under way with Sanofi”s vaccine in 10 countries in Asia and Latin America. Dengue fever, which can cause intense joint and muscle pain, is spread by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The insect thrives in the mega-cities of the tropics, with the result that nearly half the world”s population are at risk of catching the disease. In the past 50 years there has been a 30-fold jump in dengue cases. The World Health Organisation officially puts infections at between 50 and 100 million a year, though many experts think this assessment from the 1990s badly under-estimates the disease. Most patients survive but it is estimated to kill about 20,000 every year, many of them children less able to fight it off.
Source: Reuter news: UPDATE 3-World”s first dengue vaccine beats 3 virus strains
Commentary: It would be indeed an exceptional achievement when Dengue vaccine becomes available in India & other countries where this disease has become endemic. The strain that this condition puts on tertiary care health services in places that have very limited resources, makes this an indispensable vaccine, whose clinical trials results are eagerly awaited.