Promising New Vaccine to Prevent Dengue on the Horizon

Dengue, or breakbone fever, is a serious public health threat. Last year, almost 100 million people contracted the mosquito-borne disease. The World Health Organization says that dengue is one of the top 10 threats to global health as the number of cases has been increasing dramatically in the last couple years. The viral illness causes severe flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no treatment for the disease.

Indonesians fumigate their neighborhood to get rid of the larvae of mosquitos that cause dengue (Source: NPR).

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is close to having a marketable vaccine that may dramatically reduce the number of dengue cases across the world. A recent, large scale study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found the vaccine, which they are calling TAK-003, is 80% effective in preventing dengue and 95% effective in preventing severe cases. The study enrolled 20,000 people aged 4-16 across 7 countries affected by dengue.

Long term efficacy still needs to be determined. Takeda plans to monitor the children vaccinated for several more years. In addition, the vaccine must still go through the regulatory process before it can be marketed to the public.

Read more at NPR.