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Sanofi’s Dengue Vaccine Shows Improvement On Efficacy
- Updated: July 11, 2014
The world’s most advanced vaccine against dengue fever may offer only moderate protection but it could still help millions of people avoid the devastating effects of the disease, latest trial shows.
10,275 healthy children aged 2-14 across five countries in Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, were involved in the trial developed by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
Asia is the region with two-thirds of all the mosquito-borne cases worldwide. The disease sickens about 100 million people every year, mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, but there is no treatment for dengue whose most common symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, headaches and bleeding.
Researchers followed the children both in the vaccine group and the control group (those who got the fake shot) for about two years. Findings of a study published online on Friday in The Lancet medical journal show that the vaccine was safe and reduced the most serious cases of haemorrhagic fever by nearly 90 per cent. However, it didn’t provide sufficient protection to young children who are at the greatest risk, nor did it efficiently fight one of the disease’s four strains.
The shot’s efficacy improved in the latest study to 56 per cent compared to 33 per cent in 2012 early trial.
“In view of the high disease burden in endemic countries… this vaccine candidate, despite moderate overall efficacy, could have a substantial effect on public health,” the scientists behind the study wrote.
Some analysts estimate that the three-dose vaccine could sell 1 billion euros a year, significantly boosting Sanofi’s vaccines business. However, some doubts have emerged as to whether three shots of the vaccine are really needed, since one of the findings from the latest study showed almost the same efficacy after at least one dose as after three doses.