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First Dengue Fever Vaccine in Mexico Gets the Green Light

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By    |   Friday, 11 Dec 2015 12:09 PM

The first dengue vaccine has been approved by Mexico, and experts are hopeful the new drug will help fight the mosquito-borne illness that sickens 50 to 100 million people worldwide every year, killing 22,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi will manufacture the Dengvaxia vaccine and hopes to distribute it worldwide, according to Agence France-Presse. Mexico was the first to grant regulatory approval.

Dengue fever, which kills about 100 people a year in Mexico, has challenged medical professionals because it has four separate viral strains, and any vaccine needed to address all of those, according to AFP.

Olivier Charmeil, who heads up the Sanofi vaccines division, told the news agency that the cost of the vaccine has not yet been determined, but it will probably earn the company more than $1 billion a year.

"It's a very important moment in the history of public health," Charmeil said, describing the dengue vaccine as the "innovation of the decade."

The CDC said nearly all dengue fever cases reported in the United States are found in people who have traveled to other countries.

The symptoms of dengue include high fever and at least two of the following symptoms: severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and/or bone pain, rash, mild bleeding (e.g., of the nose or gums) and low white cell count, according to the CDC.

It took Sanofi 20 years of research, at the cost of about $1.65 billion, to create the dengue vaccine, according to Bloomberg.

It is not recommended for use in children under age 9 because it has reportedly been found to be less effective in that age group.

"Severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children in some Asian and Latin American countries," the World Health Organization said.

WHO said that, while there is no specific treatment for severe dengue cases, early and appropriate medical intervention can lower the death rate to less than 1 percent. Dehydration is a serious problem with the illness.



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The first dengue vaccine has been approved by Mexico, and experts are hopeful the new drug will help fight the mosquito-borne illness that sickens 50 to 100 million people worldwide every year, killing 22,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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2015-09-11
Friday, 11 Dec 2015 12:09 PM
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