Dengue vaccine gets nod in Philippines

The Philippines has become the first Asian country to grant marketing approval for Dengvaxia, the world's first dengue vaccine. French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has now vowed to |introduce this innovative new vaccine first in countries where dengue is a major public-health threat.

"Approval of the first dengue vaccine in Asia, which bears 70 per cent of the global disease burden, is a major milestone in dengue prevention and public health," said Olivier Charmeil, president and chief executive of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi.

The approval of Dengvaxia in the Philippines follows closely on the first approval in Mexico on December 9.

Sanofi Pasteur said it expected to produce up to 100 million doses of the vaccine annually.

The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration approved Dengvaxia tetravalent dengue vaccine for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue serotypes, in individuals aged from nine to 45 years living in endemic areas.

The vaccine is the culmination of more than two decades of scientific innovation and collaboration, as well as 25 clinical studies, on more than 40,000 participants in 15 endemic countries.

It was found that Dengvaxia could immunise two-thirds of people aged nine years and older, rising to 93 per cent for the more severe form of the disease, dengue haemorrhagic fever.

It was also found to prevent eight out of 10 hospitalisations.

The Philippines participated in all three phases of the clinical development of Dengvaxia.

The company's statement cited Dr May Book Montellano, president of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination, as saying: "Prevention of dengue is an urgent and growing medical priority in the Philippines … The approval of Dengvaxia in the Philippines will be a critical addition to the ongoing public-education and vector-control efforts currently directed towards dengue prevention in our country."

The vaccine is now being reviewed by 20 countries in Asia and Latin America.

The World Health Organisation aims to reduce dengue mortality by 50 per cent and morbidity by 25 per cent by 2020 in the disease-prone countries.