According to WHO, dengue is one of the fastest growing disease in the world today causing nearly 400 million cases every year. There are few factors such as increased urbanization, mobility of population and climate changes that led to dengue expansion worldwide.
As there is no cure for dengue fever, it is a dreadful disease. The fever is diagnosed with the symptoms such as nausea, headaches, bone pain rashes, bleeding. About 390 million people are infected by dengue every year in about 120 countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Dengue is a painful disease also known as ‘break bone’ fever due to the terrible bone and joint pain it causes. During its outbreak, it causes human suffering as well as has the ability to disrupt the local healthcare system costing about 9 billion USD annually.
To lower the dengue burden globally, WHO has called for development of a dengue vaccine as an important part of dengue prevention.
Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV), the first vaccine by Sanofi Pasteur was registered in Mexico for the prevention of dengue. It is a live recombinant tetravalent dengue vaccine and has been registered for use in individuals 9-45 years of age living in endemic areas.
You could potentially reduce the dengue burden by 50% in five years, if you vaccinate Dengvaxia. In addition to this, it also reduces the mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25%, according to WHO.
Such a significant disease reduction rate results for a smaller group of infected individuals, as a result fewer mosquitoes are capable to transmit the disease reducing the transmission risk for all.
Specifics Concerning the Vaccine
The vaccine is given in three injections spaced out over one year. It is specifically designed for those above the age of nine who have been earlier exposed to the virus and is best suited for those living in endemic areas.
There is a greater chance of the virus causing hospitalization or death, if a person gets infected with more than one type of dengue.
Dengue Vaccine Challenges
The development of this vaccine has unique challenges. The four serotypes circulate globally, and the infection with one serotype confer long term protection for whole life but short term against the other serotypes. The sequential infections increases the risk of developing severe and lethal disease.
The vaccine Dengvaxia cut down the occurence of severe illness by 93% and helps in reducing the dengue fever caused by all four serotypes. The safe and effective vaccine is urgently needed due to the rapid growth of the global epidemic dengue.
The countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Philippines have approved the vaccine. The health ministry of India has recommended the vaccine be approved in India to prevent the dangers of disease in adults aged 18-45.
Out of the 96 million apparent infections, Asia records 70% of the burden. India alone reporting for about one third of all infections. Thus, this vaccine will be a boon for India.
According to scientists, the dengue cases are actually 300 times higher than what is reported by the ministry of health. It is also published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene that there are nearly 6 million more cases in India than other annual tally.
The drugs controller-general of India is yet to approve Dengvaxia. Over the past decade, the cities have controlled the outbreaks following the preventive measures. Nearly 50,000 to 99,000 cases have been reported over the past three years.
Dengvaxia vaccine is an important addition for integrated dengue prevention and control efforts. It will be an essential tool to boost on-going efforts to relieve the suffering from the life threatening disease.
As there are no specific dengue therapeutics and prevention, it limits to the vector control measures. This vaccine would therefore represent a major advance in the control of the disease. Hence, it is a major innovation and a public health breakthrough.