The University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research (Pitt CVR) announced on Tuesday that it will partner with Sanofi Pasteur to study the effectiveness of its newly introduced dengue vaccine.
Pitt CVR will develop a new test to assess the efficacy of the vaccine candidate and discover if a person's immunity to the disease is derived from vaccination or a previous natural infection
"Distinguishing whether a person's immune response is from the vaccine or from infection by a mosquito can play an important role in the assessment of a candidate vaccine," Pitt CVR Associate Professor of infectious disease and microbiology Ernesto Marques said. "The goal of this test is to provide additional support in assessing the effectiveness of the vaccine after introduction."
Four types of dengue virus cause dengue disease, which is mostly found in tropical and subtropical countries. It is endemic in Puerto Rico and locally-acquired cases have been reported in the Florida Keys and Texas.
A vaccine or treatment method for dengue does not exist.
"This test also could be used by the government and health agencies to manage an immunization program," Marques said. "It will give evidence that the vaccine works and could allow doctors to determine which populations still need vaccination so they can most effectively target their immunization outreach efforts."
The Sanofi Pasteur dengue vaccine candidate has been found safe and demonstrated protection against three of the viruses that cause the disease. Data from ongoing clinical trials are expected later this year.