Brazil’s ANVISA approved Sanofi Dengvaxia dengue vaccine on the heels of a dengue fever outbreak ravaging the country. This year alone, dengue fever infections rose above 1.5 million, while just over half a million cases were reported in 2014.
It is unclear what sparked the outbreak. What remains of crucial importance is that the dengue outbreak is stopped. On Monday, Brazil’s ANVISA approved Sanofi Dengvaxia dengue vaccine in hopes that it will help efforts to put an end to the ravaging dengue outbreak. ANVISA is the South American country’s food and drug administration agency.
So far, the tropical disease dengue fever has killed 839 people in Brazil while infections rose above 1.5 million. The mosquito-borne virus is causing problems in other places around the globe. Most recently, the Philippines and Mexico faced similar dengue outbreaks. On December 9th, Mexico also approved Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.
The Philippines followed in the footsteps of Mexico just last week. Brazil only approved it this Monday. Nonetheless, the first doses of Sanofi’s Dengvaxia dengue vaccine are expected to reach the country soon. One problem remains unsolved: the price per dose for Brazil’s government. In addition, Brazil has to consider ways to incorporate the vaccine in a national vaccination plan.
The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has asked that the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine is approved in 20 countries facing the highest dengue fever outbreaks yearly. These span Latin America as well as Asia. Surely, regulatory approval will boost Sanofi’s profits.
However, it is the best shot currently on the market to effectively fight the mosquito-borne virus and dengue fever outbreaks. It is estimated that by 2017 Dengvaxia dengue vaccine production will spike, with revenues exceeding 1 billion dollars per year.
Dengue manifests through four different strains. Thus, it is fairly difficult to eradicate outbreaks altogether. Nonetheless, even putting a dent in the number of yearly infections would be considered a great success. Dengvaxia dengue vaccine has been tested in clinical trials involving over 40,000 participants from 15 countries.
The results are encouraging. Two-thirds of the people aged nine and above were immunized. In the case of one of the severe forms of dengue – dengue hemorrhagic fever – 93 percent of the patients were immunized.
Considering that according to the World Health Organization approximately 400 million people are infected yearly worldwide, the clinical trial results are indeed a ray of hope. The most severe form of infection takes the lives of approximately 22,000 people yearly.
At the same time, World Health Organization statistics have shows that over the past 50 years, the number of dengue infections has increased 30 times. Regulatory approval for Sanofi Dengvaxia dengue vaccine is the best hope at the moment to bring the number of infections down.
Photo Credits: Flickr