Malaysia testing new dengue fever vaccine

Malaysian health authorities announced on Wednesday that they were testing a vaccine for dengue fever in an effort to stop the disease that has doubled its death rate by over 60 percent this year.

The mosquito-borne disease, which currently has no treatment or vaccine, has killed 128 people in Malaysia this year compared to 78 deaths during the same period last year, reports.

Clinical trials began in the middle of 2010 with about 300 volunteers, with further trials set to continue through December.

“If these studies are successful, we hope the vaccine can be made available to the Malaysian people in the next few year,” Health Ministry Director General Ismail Merican said, according to “A dengue vaccine is the ultimate next step in the prevention of dengue fever.”

Around 43,500 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Malaysia this year and the public has been urged to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito from their homes and workplaces to stop the spread of dengue fever.

A controversial field trial is also planned by Malaysia, which will see the nation release genetically-modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever.

Dengue fever has spread in recent years from urban and semi-urban tropical regions to colder and higher places. It is classified as endemic in over 100 countries.