Sanofi Pasteur notches fifth Dengvaxia nod with Costa Rica

Sanofi Pasteur has received its fifth regulatory approval for dengue vaccine Dengvaxia with Costa Rica joining three other Latin American countries and the Philippines, where a public health campaign aimed at school children was launched in April .

In Latin America, Mexico, Brazil and El Salvador have approved the vaccine for use, but so far have not launched public campaigns like the Philippines--though in a press release, Sanofi Pasteur said that may change in the coming months.

"Introduction of dengue vaccine in private and public immunization clinics in Brazil, Mexico and other countries in Central America are planned also to follow in coming months," the company said.

Large public campaigns in endemic countries are seen as crucial for the vaccine to make a large public health impact in the spread of dengue, especially in cases where frequent travel between neighboring countries aids the spread.

Latin America and Southeast Asia are prime markets for the vaccine where the spread of dengue is endemic and governments are concerned about the public health costs. In the case of Costa Rica, the approval for the tetravalent vaccine that covers the four serotypes of the virus covers individuals 9 to 45-years-old.

"Already in 2016, we have recorded 7,711 cases of dengue at week 22 which is more than a 500% increase in incidence compared to last year,” Jorge Martinez, pediatrician member of the Pediatrician Society of Costa Rica, said in a statement.

In the Philippines campaign, the government is working to vaccinate 1 million students in 6,000 public schools in the first round, with prospects to ramp up to 3 million students for the two-dose vaccine.

Sanofi said regulatory reviews in other countries where dengue is endemic continue, getting boosts from a World Health Organization recommendation that endorsed the vaccine in countries where the virus is more than 50% prevalent.

Earlier this week, the Jakarta Post said that Singapore's Health Sciences Authority is currently evaluating Dengvaxia. It noted that in 2014, former Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan suggested the Sanofi Pasteur vaccine was "not good enough" for Singapore as it provides the best protection against the two serotypes of the virus less prevalent in the country.

- here's the release

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