Dengue fever affects around 400 million people each year and is endemic in more than 100 countries.
Mexico has approved the first ever vaccine for curing dengue fever. Initially, doses will be given to people ranging from 9 to 45 years in the most affected areas of the country.
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French pharmaceutical company Sanofi says that the vaccine, which is named Dengvasia, has been developed after more than two decades of research and was tested on 29,000 patients before being approved to use in endemic areas.
“We have achieved our goal of making dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease.” Olivier Brandicourt, Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi said.
Dengue, also known as breakbone fever, is a mosquito-borne disease that infects around 400 million people every year in which 500,000 people need to be admitted to hospitals. More than 100 countries are suffering from the disease and an estimated 22,000 people are killed by it every year. The number of cases has been increasing sharply and is spreading out in developing as well tropical and subtropical areas. According to WHO, dengue fever is the fastest growing mosquito transmitted disease in world today.
Symptoms of dengue fever may include high temperature, joint and muscle pain. In severe cases, it may cause hemorrhage fever, which involves bleeding and shock and can prove fatal as well. Symptoms usually appear within a week after an infected mosquito bites a person and often last a week or so.
“Dengue is a growing health threat in Mexico and many other tropical and subtropical countries in Latin America and Asia,” José Luis Arredondo García, associate director at National Institute of Pediatrics.
“The first vaccine to approved to prevent dengue fever is a major innovation and a public health breakthrough. Dengvasia will be a critical addition to integrated dengue prevention and control efforts.”
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In the clinical trials, vaccine decreased the risk of developing dengue by about 60% which is relatively low for a vaccine, still a huge step towards the right direction.