First Dengue Fever Vaccine Gets Green Light in Three Countries

Jan 3, 2016

Mosquito-borne disease affecting millions has had no approved vaccine until now

When female Aedes Aegypti mosquito sups on the blood of its human victims it too often deposits the virus that causes dengue, causing as many as 400 million infections per year worldwide. Severe forms of the painful, flu-like disease can be fatal, especially among children. And until recently there has been no truly effective prevention except avoiding getting bit.
But the outlook against the disease is looking better.

During the past month Dengvaxia, developed by the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, has been approved for use in three countries: Mexico and the Philippines approved the vaccine earlier this month. This week, the company also announced the drug has received the green light in Brazil, which has seen more than 1.4 million cases of the disease in 2015. Exactly when the inoculations will be deployed—and at what price—remains unclear as terms of the vaccine are being negotiated between the company and the countries.

Sanofi’s vaccine, which is designed to coax the body’s immune system into making antibodies against all four forms of dengue, is a live virus comprised of an attenuated yellow fever virus. (Yellow fever virus and dengue virus have the same genus.) For the vaccine, however, the virus is genetically engineered to include genes encoding for dengue proteins. Other dengue vaccines are also in development but none have received approval.

8 comments on “First Dengue Fever Vaccine Gets Green Light in Three Countries

  • 1
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Once again, history shows that 20 years of scientific research do immeasurably more to alleviate suffering and misery than thousands of years of belief and prayer to mythical sky gods.

    Also proof that “evil” pharmaceutical companies don’t just do bad things.

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  • NearlyNakedApe Thousands of charity hospitals operated by many churches and religions do a great deal every year to alleviate suffering and provide life saving treatment and care. My mother and father were doctors and worked at a Catholic hospital for more than 35 years and performed surgical care for free for thousands of patients. The Sisters who own and run the hospital have a policy of never turning away a patient. Neither of my parents attended church or held any particular religious belief. Denying that all religions have absolutely no positive influence in the world is not rational and certainly not true.

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  • Your parents are to be commended for their admirable contribution to the health and welfare of every patient that they treated. I speculate that people like them will act on the better angels of their nature in whatever way they judge best but surely you are aware of the terrible tragedies that have taken place historically in medical and social welfare institutions run by the Catholic church. NNA is just expressing this historical situation and has not slandered your parents. Based on our knowledge of everything that church has perpetrated against innocent bystanders, how can you blame us for being wary of the RCC and even hostile? Someone needs to advocate for these victims. If you can’t speak out against that evil institution then stand aside and let others do what’s right. Accomodationism makes you complicit.

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  • That’s interesting John and I can accept that religious people often do good. However the point would be I think that the good they did was related to their activities on the basis of science based medicine, as religious based medicine amounts to prayer. What is more, Catholic medical institutions often interfere with the types of treatment the staff at the hospitals control are allowed to carry out, for example abortions (sometimes even if the mothers life is at risk), what is more they often use their position to attempt to blackmail otherwise secular societies into adjusting their stances on medical policy to bring it into line with their dogma, even here in Australia the Catholic Church in Victoria threatened to close their hospitals (and put patients therefore at risk) if it allowed a change to the abortion laws. Let us not forget that they also use their clout to attempt to stop stem cell research, their stance on family planning and condoms particularly in Africa.

    Don’t get me wrong John, I’m not having a go at your parents, my mother was an excellent teacher and worked at Catholic schools (in-spite of being an atheist herself – she fibbed at the interview and claimed to be a Christian – because unlike any secular institution they are allowed to discriminate based on faith). So I know some good teaching was happening at her school in her classrooms. However the world and medicine would be much better off if all churches stayed the hell out of medicine, politics and education.

    Peoples charity dollars would be much better placed by giving it directly to secular charities instead to giving it to an organization that used a sizable chunk of it on palaces, maintaining power and protecting the deviants in their midsts (and yes there are deviants everywhere including in secular institutions-however they do not get protected generally by their institutions). In my career as a teacher I have been aware of 3 teachers who have been accused of sexual inappropriateness with students, I was in the staffroom when the principal of the school came in told the teacher to leave his stuff and come straight away with him, he was escorted straight out the school and we never saw him again. In the Catholic Church the procedure seems somewhat different, move from parish to parish, bribe threaten and ostracize the victims and their family, threaten them with legal action and if things get really hot send them to live in Vatican City. Every Catholic should know that while a fraction of the money they give goes towards good schooling and good health care, another fraction is being used very deliberately to protect people who are raping children, some other proportion going to expensive closes and palaces and quite a bit going to lobby for their political power.

    So no no-one I think here would believe that no good has ever been done by the religious and religions, just that hitching those good works to dogma and religion is likely to led to much harm as well hence Hitchens oft mis-understood statement “religion poisons everything”.

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  • 5
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Thousands of charity hospitals operated by many churches and religions do a great deal every year to alleviate suffering and provide life saving treatment and care.

    No argument there John. And since RecklessMonkey and LaurieB have expressed my thoughts on the matter so well, I really have nothing much to add except to re-iterate that my comments were not aimed at religious people who work for religious institutions but rather at belief itself and more specifically the irrational belief that prayer and belief itself can alleviate the suffering brought on by serious disease (epidemics, cancer, etc..)

    I never cease to be amazed at how often people will conflate criticism of ideas with criticism of people. I know I sound like a broken record but people like Sam Harris, Salman Rushdie and others have often said: people have rights, ideas don’t. This is an important thing to keep in mind in ANY debate and that’s why I believe that it cannot be overstated.

    And BTW, it’s important regardless of what we believe because as people, the best thing that can happen to us is having our ideas challenged even if it’s not always a pleasant experience at the moment at which it’s happening.

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  • 6
    Pinball1970 says:

    Denying that all religions have absolutely no positive influence in the world is not rational and certainly not true

    Yes good people do good things

    Would they stop helping the sick if they lost their faith?

    Are they just doing this to score points with jesus?

    If you are sure the answer is no (I am sure it is…) then religion is not part of the equation and is therefore irrelevant.

    Good people doing good things.

    Vegetarians do good things, druids good things, atheists do good things, perhaps they do them because the cause is worthy and they decent emphatic human beings not because they have no interest in jesus or meat.

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  • 8
    Pinball1970 says:

    I much prefer the other approach to Mosquitoes and disease on a previous article on here which was a program aim at introducing sterile mosquitoes into the population.

    Laurie disagreed and urged caution, sort of a “better the devil you know,” approach.

    Say it is replaced by something worse? It would have to be something pretty spectacular, it is not just the deaths it is the fact it is one of those diseases that keeps communities in the dark ages.

    Plenty of opportunity in India and Africa for development and ridding the planet of this menace is worth considering before it’s too late.

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