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French company poised to announce world's first dengue vaccine

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 02:44

March 20 - French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur says it is poised to become the first to produce a vaccine to combat dengue fever which afflicts tens of millions of people around the world. A series of trials that began in Thailand, is now near completion in Mexico, and the company says the results are extremely promising. Rob Muir reports.

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The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of the virus that causes dengue fever, an infection afflicting millions of people throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur's recent documentary on the subject, discusses the seriousness of dengue fever and its own efforts to produce the first ever targeted vaccine. The company and a team of independent researchers say a global trial that began in Thailand and is now concluding in Mexico, has produced remarkable results. The final round of testing is taking place with children at a clinic in the city of Temixco, where dengue has been a recurring problem. Virginia Garcia was only too willing to allow her son to participate. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MOTHER OF CHILD UNDERGOING VACCINE TRIAL, VIRGINIA GARCIA SAYING: "My brother was close to death because of a haemorrhagic dengue infection. He spent a lot of time hospitalised and he lost a lot of weight and was close to death. There were two other people that died." Dengue fever produces flu like symptoms such as headaches, fever and pain in the muscles and joints. In children, it's often fatal. National Institute of Pediatrics head, Jose Luis Arendondo. is involved in the trials. SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF PEDIATRICS HEAD OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATIONS, JOSE LUIS ARREDONDO SAYING: "Part of the reason why we are working with school children and teenagers is that they're a group that are most at risk. One of the complications from dengue is that a serious case can cause the patient to choke, it can constrict arteries, if you don't have good blood flow to vital organs you can die. This is the most serious." But according to Sanofi Pasteur's Fernando Noriega, the vaccine is having the desired effect. SANOFI PASTEUR INFECTIONS SPECIALIST, FERNANDO NORIEGA SAYING: "We have already demonstrated that the vaccine is safe and it does not have adverse effects like other vaccines that have been registered. We have demonstrated that the vaccine produces antibodies that protect against dengue." The company won't reveal the chemical formula of the vaccine or how it works inside the body until after it gains official approval. And they're confident it will be approved. The World Health Organization says that Aedes aegypti is responsible for between 50 and 100 million dengue infections worldwide. Sanofi Pastuer believs they now have the means to stop the disease in its tracks. Rob Muir, Reuters.

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French company poised to announce world's first dengue vaccine

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 02:44