Dengue prevention vaccine on path to registration
A new dengue fever vaccine, which Thai scientists helped develop, is now in the process of being registered in Thailand.
Jarung Muangchana, director of the National Vaccine Institute (NVI), yesterday said the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is considering registration of the vaccine against four strains of dengue fever.
It was developed by Sanofi Pasteur Ltd, the French pharmaceutical conglomerate, with Thai scientists taking part in development studies.
Dr Jarung said the vaccine is 60% effective.
In cases where the vaccine failed to protect, it was still able to alleviate the virulence of the disease in 80% of patients.
The vaccine is administered in three shots for people aged between 9-45. No information is available about its use on older people.
"If the vaccine registration is approved, it will gain acceptance for legal use nationwide," Dr Jarung said.
He said developing a vaccine for dengue immunity was a national agenda item. Research and development was supported by the government to push the vaccine towards commercial-scale production.
However, to prevent dengue virus infection efficiently, precautionary measures such as curbing the number of mosquitoes must also be implemented, he added.
Meanwhile, FDA secretary-general Boonchai Somboonsook said Sanofi Pasteur has sought registration for the new vaccine in more than seven countries simultaneously.
So far the vaccine has been registered in the Philippines, Brazil and Mexico.
Dr Boonchai said the FDA was now considering three aspects -- quality, safety and clinical trials -- of the vaccine before approving registration.
A new report on the vaccine from the Department of Medical Science has just been submitted to the agency.
Dr Boonchai believed the vaccine will receive approval because it will help reduce the number of people contracting the virus even though it can prevent infection by only four dengue strains.
However, whether the vaccine will be used broadly will depend on the Department of Disease Control and the Ministry of Public Health, he added.
A source said the ministry has launched a campaign to control the number of mosquitoes in communities, running from Sunday to April 13.
People are encouraged to cover water storage containers with a lid and change the water every week to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs on the surface of the water.
They should also keep their homes and offices tidy and avoid stagnant water, the source said.