The Philippines at the forefront
of the fight against dengue

Dengue
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More than 70 years after dengue fever emerged as a public health concern in Asia, the virus continues to claim lives. Prior to 1970, only nine countries had reported epidemics, but the virus quickly spread and is now endemic in more than 100 countries across Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Asia and the Western Pacific.

 

Last year saw one of the most serious outbreaks in recent memory, stretching hospital and medical resources across Asia, where it remains a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children. Nowadays, more than 70% of the world’s dengue cases are still reported in the Asia Pacific.

 

 

The Philippines launches the first public vaccination campaign against the dengue virus

 

Severe dengue – or Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever – was first identified in the Philippines and Thailand in the 1950s .  

Since then dengue has remained a major problem in the Philippines, where more than 200,000 cases of dengue were reported last year – an increase of almost 65% over 2014 figures. In an effort to stop the spread of dengue, Philippines became the first Asian country to license the world’s first dengue vaccine in December 2015.

 

“The Philippines’ scientific and healthcare communities have been significant collaborators in the development of the first dengue vaccine, participating in all three phases of the clinical study program,” said Olivier Charmeil, Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi Pasteur

 

The vaccine’s phase III safety and efficacy study, which was published in The Lancet after demonstrating protection against dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever, included 10,275 participants from across the Philippines and other Asian countries.  

 

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To go further, the Philippines’ government launches an ambitious long-term initiation of public dengue immunization this month with the plan to vaccinate one million 4th grade public school students. This vaccination program, which is being coordinated by the Department of Health, has the support of the World Health Organization, which is providing technical assistance.

The Red Cross will help promote awareness of the program, which focuses on some 6,000 public schools in three regions where dengue is at high incidence, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

 

It is possible the program in the Philippines may validate Sanofi Pasteur’s unique approach: to bring dengue vaccine innovation first to individuals in the world at highest risk, where it can have the greatest impact on the dengue burden. 

 

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