Sanofi vaccine combats most viral causes of dengue

Sanofi Pasteur took a big leap forward Wednesday, announcing that its tetravalent dengue fever vaccine candidate demonstrated proof of efficacy against dengue in a trial conducted in Thailand.

The vaccine, the first of its kind, generated antibody response for all four dengue virus serotypes, according to a release, and showed protection against three of the four virus serotypes making their way through the country. Researchers are investigating the failed blockade against the fourth serotype.

"It's a surprise," company spokesman Pascal Barollier told Reuters. "We need to get to the bottom of the data to find out why it is reacting this way and wait for ongoing Phase III trials to see if it is linked to some specific situation in Thailand."

The Phase IIb study involved 4,002 children ages 4 to 11. Now, large Phase III clinical studies involving more than 31,000 children and adults are under way in 10 countries in Asia and Latin America.

The average lifecycle for vaccine development is 12 to 15 years, Susan Watkins, a Sanofi Pasteur spokeswoman, told FierceVaccines. The dengue vaccine is about 10 years into production and is expected to launch in 2015. "It's meeting a public health need that isn't already out there," Watkins said.

Fifty million to 100 million people annually contract dengue in more than 100 countries and 40% of the world's population is at risk, according to the World Health Organization, so finding the antidote will surely prove a win for the company that hits that mark. Mosquitoes spread the virus, which can cause what's called dengue hemorrhagic fever. The potentially lethal complication can lead to bleeding, vomiting, abdominal aches and fever.  

- read the release
- get more from Reuters

Related Articles:
Group tackles dengue vaccine pricing
BioDiem steps closer to a dengue vaccine
Study: Dengue virus research needs to focus on people, not mice

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