Published On: Thu, Dec 10th, 2015

World’s first dengue vaccine gets nod in Mexico

Mexico City: The world’s first dengue vaccine won regulatory approval in Mexico on Wednesday, raising hopes that it could prevent more than 100 deaths there a year and eventually perhaps millions around the world.

A doctor attends to dengue patients in a pediatric ward.

A doctor attends to dengue patients in a pediatric ward.

Globally, dengue is the fastest-growing mosquito-borne disease, with as many as 400 million people infected every year, according to the World Health Organization.

The Dengvaxia vaccine is being manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. The company has requested regulatory approval in 20 countries across Asia and Latin America, but Mexico was the first to give it the green light.

While the price tag has yet to be decided, the vaccine has the potential to be a “blockbuster” drug and generate more than $1 billion a year in revenue for Sanofi, said Olivier Charmeil, head of the company’s vaccines division.

“It’s a very important moment in the history of public health,” Charmeil told AFP, describing Dengvaxia as the “innovation of the decade.”

Mexico’s National Vaccination Council will meet to decide whether Dengvaxia will be among the vaccines the government distributes without cost, the head of the health regulatory agency, Mikel Arriola, told AFP.

Mexican health authorities estimate the vaccine could prevent 8,000 hospitalizations and 104 deaths per year.

“It’s a great step forward,” Arriola said, adding that Mexico was able to move before other countries because it was involved in the research on the vaccine, carried out since 2006.

AFP

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