A DRUG giant has achieved breakthroughs in the development of a dengue vaccine, which could be ready by the end of next year, the Straits Times reported Monday.
Guillaume Leroy, head of the dengue vaccine unit of drug giant Sanofi Pasteur, announced the success of a clinical trial in Asia to test the effectiveness of the vaccine at the two-day ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Dengue Summit held in Angeles City, the Philippines over the weekend, the newspaper said.
It may be the world's first dengue vaccine, as there has so far been no vaccines for dengue.
In the trial conducted by Sanofi Pasteur, dengue cases in the group of about 10,000 -- including participants from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia -- fell by more than half after the vaccine candidate was administered.
Another trial involving more than 20,000 people is currently under way in Latin America.
"We are at a very critical milestone," Leroy said. "By the end of the year, we will have a full analysis of all the results."
The outcome of these latest trials brings Sanofi Pasteur a step closer to a goal that has been more than 20 years in the making. The company's work on a dengue vaccine has been hampered by the fact that dengue has four different strains. All must be effectively subdued before any vaccine can be counted a success, which the company said has managed to do.
Dengue is the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, according to the World Health Organization, and is endemic in over 100 countries. Four in 10 people are at risk of getting infected.
More than two thirds of the world's dengue cases come from Asia, with Southeast Asia a major contributor.
Sanofi Pasteur said it aims to put its vaccine in markets where it is most needed first, including the Southeast Asia.
"The overall ambition is first to address the disease where it is most severe," said Leroy.
As soon as its vaccine is approved for use, Sanofi Pasteur will be able to churn out 100 million doses a year. Long before the vaccine neared completion, the company invested in a 350 million euro production plant located in France in 2009. (PNA)