A dengue vaccine… finally

Mexico becomes first country to approve new vaccine, 20 others to follow

It has been a long time coming, but the first dengue vaccine should hit the market next year in Mexico and, with any luck, in about 20 markets over the next couple of years.

The Philippines could be next.

Sanofi Pasteur, a French vaccine developer, spent 20 years developing the vaccine and announced this week that Mexico became the first country to approve it. In a story in Bioworld Today, Sergio Held explains how important a dengue vaccine could be for the world.

There are about 400 million dengue infections every year and the disease, carried by mosquitoes, is present in 120 countries.In Mexico alone a vaccines could keep almost 10,000 people out of hospital and prevent 32,000 infections.

The disease is crippling, living people weakened for days or weeks. Patients infected more than once can die.

A vaccine for dengue has been particularly difficult to develop. Dengue is caused by one of four different variations of a virus that is carried by mosquitoes. To be really effective, a vaccine has to be effective against all four.

Up until now, most efforts to control dengue have relied on vector control – basically staying away from the mosquitoes or limiting their spread.

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