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Dengue vaccine gains approval in Mexico

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At Rancho San Antonio, north of Valladolid, inspectors check for mosquitos. Archive photo: Getty
At Rancho San Antonio, north of Valladolid, inspectors check for mosquitoes. Archive photo: Getty

Mexican health authorities have approved the world’s first dengue vaccine, officials announced yesterday. The drug has undergone testing on over 29,000 patients worldwide.

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur said vaccine is called Dengvaxia, which has had an average effectiveness rate of about 60.8 percent. That is relatively low for a vaccine, but Dengvaxia appeared to be particularly effective in protecting people from the most extreme, potentially life-threatening form of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The vaccine is aimed at people aged 9 to 45 and will be used in areas where the disease is endemic.

Sanofi’s press release asserts that the drug “prevented 9 out of 10 cases of severe dengue and 8 out 10 hospitalizations due to dengue.”

Globally, dengue is the fastest-growing mosquito-borne disease. The deadliest form of the disease kills 22,000 people per year, according to World Health Organization.

Mexico’s federal medical safety agency said the vaccine could help prevent 104 deaths and 8,000 hospital admissions and save about $65m in health expenditures annually.

Sources: Agencies, press release

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