Global Health Press
French pharma company develops anti-dengue vaccine

French pharma company develops anti-dengue vaccine

dengue_wordsFor the first time in 50 years of dengue research, the first safe, effective and affordable anti-dengue vaccine in the world could be out commercially in the country by end of next year.

This was announced by Guillaume Leroy, vice president and dengue vaccine head of France-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, which bared the development of the vaccine at the opening-day program of the Fourth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Dengue Day summit.

Asean Dengue Day is an advocacy event held every June 15 starting 2011 to increase public awareness of dengue; to mobilize resources for its prevention and control; and to demonstrate the region’s commitment to tackling the disease.

Leroy, who gave updates on clinical dengue-vaccine development, said, “We plan to submit the information for the license in early 2015, and as soon as regulatory agencies of the different countries will give the license…it will be available in the market by end of 2015 or early 2016.”

Leroy explained that health authorities of the different countries where dengue is endemic will review the information, which will be provided by Sanofi, and make their decision.

Prof. Donald Shepard of Brandeis University in the US, who spoke on the “Cost Burden of Dengue in Asia Pacific” during the program, said, “The vaccine is by design a major innovation. The technology is highly sophisticated…being able to develop for the first time a vaccine that will be able to address the four serotypes [of dengue strain].”

Shepard said if one was infected with one of them (serotypes), this could trigger antibody enhancement, and the next infection has the risk of being more severe.

He said these are the scientific challenges that vaccine makers are trying to overcome in order to make the vaccine work on all four serotypes.

He said the Sanofi vaccine was tried in Thailand last year and, so far, “it has proven to be safe and has a 50-percent to 60-percent effectiveness, and considered reasonably effective.”

Shepard explained that being safe and effective means that the Sanofi vaccine doesn’t have an adverse effect on patients.
The developers fear the increased risk to the patients after the vaccine was administered, Shepard said. This is the fear that developers have, he added.

“Some people after being vaccinated had adverse reaction, so those products were discontinued,” he stressed.
“It’s [vaccine] a good tool, but it’s not a perfect tool,” he said.

But an anti-dengue vaccine is just one of the tools being developed in different laboratories, Shepard said.
The American professor said in Melbourne, Australia, researchers like Professor Scott O’Neil and his team found that the bacteria “wolbachia,” which occurs naturally in some insects like the food fly, if introduced into the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, inhibits its ability to transmit dengue.

Because dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, the bacteria develops inside the mosquito and then it stops the dengue virus in developing inside the mosquito. He said the bacteria has a way of doing that and has further advantage because “this bacterium is passed on from one generation of mosquito to the next.”

Shepard said if this is established, it also has a very promising control strategy. “If set right, it becomes a self-perpetuating way of reducing dengue transmission,” he added.

The wolbachia tool is one that is being developed, he said.

Another tool is the Attractive, Lethal, Overside Trap, which is a trap with a lure in it that will attract the female mosquito and kill it and its larvae. Shepard said a trial from Peru showed that it also reduced the spread of dengue in the community where it was tried.

Further studies of this technology are ongoing. But mosquitoes could always mutate. He gave assurance the mosquito trap will not create any new species of mosquitoes.

“My hope is that we will have a portfolio of tools so that in the next [dengue] conference five years from now, we might have a series of tools that could work pretty well,” Shepard said. “They [tools] have a potential of slowing it [dengue] and their combination might make a very big impact [in the fight against dengue],” he added.

Source: Business Mirror