Dengue vaccine out by July 2015

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

IN A YEAR'S time, the highly anticipated dengue vaccine may already be available in the market, a Department of Health (DOH) official said Tuesday.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the dengue vaccine developed by a pharmaceutical firm is already being eyed for release on July 2015.

"This is of great public health importance due to the high incidence of dengue and its disruptive effect on the country's health system," Ona said in a press conference.

The health chief said that the first Asian dengue vaccine efficacy trial for more than two years now showed a promising overall efficacy of 56.5 percent, which means that more than half of the subjects did not get dengue.

He also noted that the study showed that after three doses, the vaccine reduced the possibility of developing dengue hemorrhagic fever by 88.5 percent.

Ona also said that during the observation period, a 67 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to dengue was observed.

The study on the dengue vaccine efficacy was performed in a total of five Asian countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, involving a total of 10,275 children, whose ages ranged from 2-14 years old.

In the Philippines, there were 3,500 children coming from Cebu and San Pablo involved in the study.

Because of this, the health chief expressed confidence that dengue will no longer be a public health threat as early as next year.

"Hopefully, by next year, we will be able to eliminate dengue as a major public health threat. This is wonderful news considering dengue has been the scourge of the Philippines for the past five to 10 years already," said the official.

Ona noted how DOH data show that from January 1 to July 2, there were only 31,088 dengue cases. The figures are 60.78 percent lower compared to the same period last year, which was at 79,274.

According to the latest dengue surveillance report, most of the cases came from Eastern Visayas (3,088), Soccksargen (3,077), Northern Mindanao (2,894), Calabarzon (2,768), and Davao Region (2,757).

In the National Capital Region, most of the cases are from Manila (414), Quezon City (394), Las Piñas (181), Caloocan (172), Pasig City (156), Parañaque City (155), and Taguig City (136). (HDT/Sunnex)

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