Dengue fever vaccine shown to be significantly effective in Latin America clinical studies

Sanofi Pasteur announced last week that it has completed the third phase of its clinical study for a vaccine candidate in Latin America aimed at eliminating dengue fever.

Approximately 21,000 children ages nine to 16 from dengue-endemic areas including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras and Puerto Rico were given three injections of the dengue vaccine.

According to the study, the vaccine-effective against all four strains of dengue-reduced the instance of the disease in children and adolescents by approximately 61 percent. Hospitalization as a result of the disease was reduced by 80 percent.

"These new positive phase III results from Latin America are very encouraging because they are consistent with the results reported in July in the Asian phase III trial," Duane Gubler, a professor and founder of the Signature Research Program of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS in Singapore and the chairman of the Partnership for Dengue Control, said. "Together, the results of these trials suggest that for the first time, a vaccine solution that can help control dengue, is on the horizon. Scientific and public health experts will now be in a position to define the best way to implement dengue vaccination effectively, based on the country epidemiology, the vaccine profile and the goals defined by [the] World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce the disease burden by 2020."

A vaccine to combat dengue fever, which threatens half of the world's population, according to the WHO, would be a major advancement in the fight against the infection, which is transmitted through mosquitoes and causes flu-like illness that can turn deadly.

"For the first time ever, after 20 years of research and industrial commitment, dengue is set to become a vaccine preventable disease," Sanofi Pasteur President and CEO Olivier Charmeil said. "The data generated from our comprehensive research and clinical program involving 40,000 children, adolescents and adults from 15 countries, will be submitted to the health authorities in countries where dengue is a public health priority."

A full analysis of the data from the Latin American study will be compiled and reviewed by external experts before publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and presentation at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's annual meeting in November.