22 Jul 2013

First vaccine against dengue in final trial

5:27 pm on 22 July 2013

The first vaccine against dengue could be on the market by the end of the year.

The French pharmaceutical group Sanofi Pasteur says while it is awaiting the vaccine's approval, its laboratory plans to produces 100 million doses a year.

This week, its representatives will be in New Caledonia, one to Pacific Island countries mostly affected by the mosquito-borne disease.

Dominique Baudon is the director of the Pasteur Research Center in Noumea.

He told Daphne Gastaldi why this vaccine could be revolutionary for up to 10 million people affected each year.

DOMINIQUE BAUDON: It's a very important news for New Caledonia because, here, dengue is a very big public health problem. Currently, we have a dengue epidemic since the end of 2012, with more than 10,000 cases. If we obtain such a vaccine, it will be a great progress for us. I think it's a revolution because we worked many years to get such a vaccine. And it was very difficult to obtain a vaccine for all types of virus. There are four types of virus.

DAPHNE GASTALDI: Have you got more details about this vaccine?

DOMINIQUE BAUDON: According to the scientific revue The Lancet , in 2000, this candidate vaccine showed it was effective against three types of the virus - the Types 1, 3 and 4. Currently, there is another study in Africa and in Asia. If this study confirms the effectiveness of this vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur plans to supply 100 million doses a year before 2015. They say they are very optimistic and to save time, the manufacturing of the vaccine has been already launched even before they obtain the authorisation to launch it on the market. It's a bet. So I think that will be confirmed.

DAPHNE GASTALDI: As the director of the Research Center, you will meet soon the representatives of this French pharmacological group. What do you expect of them?

DOMINIQUE BAUDON: We would like they confirm the results of the last study implemented in Africa and in Asia, so they confirm the vaccine is effective, okay? Secondly, we want to know what is the price of the vaccine ? How many doses do we have to give ? What is the age of the population that could benefit of this vaccine ? It's really the first vaccine against dengue and it's a great hope in the fight against this disease.