Sanofi's dengue vaccine shows promise

Early results from an efficacy trial of an experimental vaccine against dengue fever have shown promise.

The vaccine's developer, French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, said the vaccine prevented infection by three of the four strains of the virus and had an excellent safety profile in tests conducted on 4,000 children in Thailand, according to

Sanofi said the vaccine's purpose is to prevent the illness from infecting children and adults living in Latin America and Asia, where the virus is considered endemic, as well as those traveling in endemic regions.

Executive Vice President of Research and Development Michel De Wilde said that the trial results represent a milestone in the search for an effective and safe dengue vaccine.

"This is also an important development for global public health, since there is currently no specific treatment or prevention for dengue," De Wilde said, reports.

The World Health Organization reports that dengue infects 50 to 100 million people around the world every year. More than 40 percent of the world's population live in areas where dengue is considered endemic, and its spread is increasing every year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently gave Sanofi's experimental vaccine fast-track status, recognizing an important and unmet need to combat a rising global epidemic.