Thailand researchers announce dengue fever vaccine

Researchers in Thailand say that they have developed a prototype vaccine that will protect against dengue fever.

The researchers will embark on further tests with the goal of bringing the vaccine to market within the next decade, AFP reports.

The vaccine was developed jointly by scientists from Thailand’s Mahidol University, Chiang Mai University and the government’s National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, according to AFP.

"It's the first time in Thailand that we created a prototype vaccine against dengue that has the attributes we wanted," Nopporn Sithisombat, an associate professor at Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand, said, according to AFP. "Our goal is to create a vaccine against dengue fever in children."

The vaccine has so far been tested on monkeys and mice. Human trials will be the next step. There is no known treatment for dengue fever, which causes a severe flu-like illness for many of its victims. One of its four strains is potentially lethal.

The vaccine developers have formed a licensing agreement with the Thai biotech firm BioNet-Asia, which will develop the vaccine in an effort to release the first commercial batch within 10 years.

Over 115,000 people were infected with dengue in Thailand last year, with 141 reported deaths, AFP reports.