Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

New dengue vaccine could worsen disease in some people

4 2016 shows a nurse showing vials of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia developed by French medical giant Sanofi during a vaccination program at an elementary school in suburban Manila.—AFP New dengue vaccine could worsen disease in some people
Melissa Porter | 01 December, 2017, 16:07

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced Wednesday that its world-first dengue vaccine could lead to more severe symptoms for people who had not previously been infected.

But for those not previously infected by the virus, more cases of severe disease could occur in the long term following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection.

Philippines Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said further recommendation will be released on December 12 or 13 by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation, an advisory body of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sanofi is requesting that health authorities update information on its dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, as a result of a new analysis of long-term clinical trial data, which found differences in vaccine performance based on prior dengue infection. For those who have not been previously infected by dengue virus, vaccination should not be recommended, it added. Vaccination should only be recommended when the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks (in countries with high burden of dengue disease).

The mosquito-spread disease is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide. In severe cases, dengue can cause breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.

Duque said there are now no reports of severe dengue infection among those vaccinated.

But he said the department would strengthen its ongoing surveillance of those who received Dengvaxia and would investigate any cases of people falling ill.

Binay, in a statement, said the recent medical report of Sanofi Pasteur is " deeply shocking and disturbing" particularly to parents whose children have taken the vaccine. It also said doctors should assess the likelihood of prior dengue infection in people before choosing whether they should get the vaccine.

More than 1,000 people in the Philippines died from dengue a year ago, out of more than 211,000 suspected cases, according to the government.