The first vaccine against the dangerous dengue fever was released in Mexico today after over 20 years of research, announced Sanofi Pasteur, the pharmaceutical firm involved on its development.
The medicine, which received COFEPRIS approval in late 2015, is a tetravalent vaccine, meaning it is efficient against all four dengue virus serotypes. It underwent 25 clinical studies in 15 countries, and 40,000 people participated. Before issuing approval, COFEPRIS researched the vaccine for two years in conjunction with international experts. The French pharma company is currently in talks with the General Sanitary Board (CSG) to sell its product to public health institutions.
It will be available to 9 to 45 year olds. In the 9-16 age group it has shown to have prevented 90 percent of cases of severe dengue, also known as hemorrhagic fever, and prevented 80 percent of hospitalizations due to the disease. It will be given in three doses on a 0/6/12-month schedule.
In Mexico alone, the vaccine is expected to prevent 8,000 hospitalizations, 104 deaths and MX$1.1 billion in savings annually, according to Forbes México.
According to the WHO, the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically over past decades and half the world’s population is now at risk of the mosquito-borne disease in tropical and sub-tropical climates. It estimates 500,000 people per year are affected with severe dengue and require hospitalization, many of whom are children. The WHO also indicates that although numbers are underreported, it is estimated 284-528 million people are affected, whether they present symptoms or not.