S'pore possibly first country to get dengue vaccine
June 16, 2014 00:00
The Straits Times - The world's first dengue vaccine could be ready by the end of next year, and Singapore may be one of the first countries to get it.
The need could not be greater. Dengue is the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, says the World Health Organisation, and is endemic in over 100 countries. Four in 10 people are at risk of getting infected.
And more than two-thirds of the world's dengue cases come from Asia, with Southeast Asia being a major contributor.
Drug giant Sanofi Pasteur aims to put its vaccine in markets where it is most needed first, and that includes Southeast Asia.
"The overall ambition is first to address the disease where it is most severe," said Dr Guillaume Leroy, who heads the company's dengue vaccine unit.
At the two-day Asean Dengue Summit held in Angeles City in the Philippines over the weekend, Dr Leroy announced the success of an Asian clinical trial to test the vaccine's effectiveness.
After the vaccine candidate was administered, dengue cases in the group of about 10,000 - including participants from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia - fell by more than half.
Another trial, involving more than 20,000 people, is currently under way in Latin America.
In Singapore, dengue cases hit an all-time high last year, with more than 22,000 cases and seven deaths reported.