New dengue vaccine cuts severe cases

New dengue vaccine cuts severe cases

Health researchers announced yesterday a powerful new vaccine against dengue fever, which could be introduced to the public within two years.

Trials of the vaccine showed it prevents hospitalisation in about 80% of cases, said Dr Usa Tissayakorn of Chulalongkorn University, who also serves as adviser of Mahidol University's Faculty of Tropical Medicine.

She was citing research by an international team of scientists, mainly from Asean, at an Asean Member States Dengue Vaccination Advocacy forum.

In some cases, the vaccine prevented infection, Dr Usa said. The study included more than 10,000 children in five Asean countries — Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand — and more than 20,000 children in Latin America.

In Thailand, the clinical trials were conducted at Ratchaburi and Kamphaeng Phet provinces.

Tikki Pang, of the World Health Organisation, said researchers have been testing dengue fever vaccines for more than 40 years. This version could take one or two years to clear regulatory hurdles and be introduced to the public, he said. 

Ira Longini, a University of Florida researcher who also attended the forum, cited studies showing the vaccine reduced infection by 80% when it was given to children aged 2-14 in Asia and to children aged 9-16 in Latin America.

In the trials, children were given a series of three injections at birth, six months and 12 months, she said.

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