A Hawaii-based company, Hawaii Biotech Inc., has won grant funding of nearly a million US dollars over the next year to move it closer to commercial production of the first dengue vaccine.
The funding will come from the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative of the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute.
The institute is funded by among others the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Honolulu Star says the company will use the money to conduct clinical trials on dengue -- a mosquito-borne disease prevalent in under-developed tropical and subtropical countries.
The Hawaii Biotech chief executive officer, Elliot Parks, says clinical trials are expected to begin at the end of this year or early 2009.
The company has received more than 10 million in grants for the dengue vaccine programme over the past five years.
Hawaii Biotech, which also is developing vaccines for West Nile virus and seasonal influenza, expects to begin commercial production of the dengue vaccine in the next several years.