Scientists say they have developed the world's first vaccine against dengue fever seen to work in large-scale trials.
10 July 2014
Research in the Lancet journal suggests more than 50% of children who are given the vaccine are protected against the disease.
Half the world's population are at risk of catching the mosquito-borne virus.
Experts say though the long-awaited study is promising, vaccines with greater effectiveness are crucial.
There are currently no treatments to prevent dengue fever - an illness which affects more than one million people a year.
'Best so far'
In the largest late-stage trial of a vaccine to date, researchers from five centres across Asia treated 6,000 children aged between two and 14 years old.
Some 56% were seen to have protection against the virus at the end of two years.
It worked best for children with certain subtypes of the virus and those who had been exposed to it before.
And the vaccine had an even greater impact on severe forms of the disease, reducing the number of people needing treatment in hospital and preventing 80% of cases of haemorrhagic fever - a potentially life-threatening complication.
Lead author Dr Maria Rosario Capeding, from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in the Philippines, told the BBC: "Given that dengue is a major public health problem in most Asian countries the findings have the potential to have a huge impact on public health.
"A 56% reduction, though moderate, can translate into a huge benefit for countries plagued by the disease."
Nice, I worked in the DR for over 4 years where Dengue was common. It is amazing to see the complacency the government and the locals have about this disease. Unless someone actually died, you would think it was just a case of flu. And they treated it with about the same level of attention and importance. Not certain it is a hot commercial target when the governments see it as just another little unfortunate seasonal virus among the poor.
I have family from Puerto Rico where Dengue is also endemic. They basically fear for the young, old and other immuno compromised individuals that get sick. If you are not in these groups the perception is you will muscle through the sickness unless you pick up the hemorrhagic form where your odds get a bit dicey. I live in Miami now where last week the local media has been pounding a story of the this season's first locally acquired case. They say the woman made a full recovery. Some sort of update out of Siga would be nice on their dengue candidate, or any other program for that matter.