Dengue fever is on the verge of becoming the world’s next vaccine-preventable disease, thanks to the approval in Mexico of the first vaccine to effectively prevent dengue infection.
In clinical trials, the vaccine, known as Dengvaxia, protected about two-thirds of people against all four viral serotypes that cause dengue. It was effective particularly against the most-severe form of dengue, protecting about 9 out of every 10 people and greatly reducing hospitalization rates. The trials were conducted by the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, which developed and markets the vaccine.
The approval of Dengvaxia in Mexico, announced on December 9, 2015, marks a significant step forward in the fight against dengue, an infectious mosquito-borne viral disease that causes illness in some 400 million people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Countries in Asia and Latin America are disproportionately affected by severe dengue, which, among children, is now a leading cause of hospitalization and death.
Officials in Mexico are hopeful that the vaccine, approved for use in people between ages 9 and 45, will help to reduce the country’s dengue disease burden.