The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and Inviragen, Inc. today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the ultimate objective of making a dengue vaccine widely accessible to people in countries where this disease is endemic.
IVI, through the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI), is developing strategies to raise awareness of the need to invest in research and development of a dengue vaccine, and to finance the development and distribution of vaccines, goals which will be furthered through their collaboration with Inviragen. As part of the collaboration, IVI and Inviragen also aim to strengthen the regulatory and policy environments to accelerate dengue vaccine development and introduction, and to raise funding to assist low- and middle-income countries with procuring available vaccine candidates.
At least 2.5 billion people, or two-fifths of the world’s population, are at risk of contracting dengue. No specific treatment or reliable prevention method exists for the infection whose reach, already endemic in more than 120 countries, continues to grow. A safe, effective and affordable dengue vaccine would represent a powerful tool against this major public health threat, which is the world’s most important vector borne viral disease.
In 2010, IVI announced the launch of the DVI, in collaboration with the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and the World Health Organization. DVI aims to increase the global priority given to dengue vaccines through evidence-based research to inform policy. Through a $6.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and in partnership with governments, industry and the scientific community, DVI will accelerate the development and utilization of safe, affordable and broadly protective vaccines to combat dengue.
“The International Vaccine Institute, in collaboration with Inviragen, a company that has shown a commitment to developing a vaccine for dengue, plans to expedite the collective goal of developing and introducing a safe, effective and affordable dengue vaccine in the near future,” said Dr. Luiz da Silva, DVI Director. “Dengue is not simply a public health threat but can have a catastrophic effect on the economic status of those living in poverty around the globe. The time is now to invest in the development of dengue vaccines.”
Dr. Dan Stinchcomb, Inviragen CEO added, “Inviragen’s collaboration with the DVI will allow us to address issues of vaccine acceptance and distribution while we continue clinical testing of our tetravalent DENVax vaccine in dengue endemic countries. We look forward to working with IVI and other DVI member organizations on this critical effort to advance the development and utilization of a safe and effective vaccine that targets the four strains of the dengue virus.”