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Sanofi's Experimental Dengue Vaccine Shows Promising Results

Apr 28, 2014 09:09 AM EDT
A view shows the logo of Sanofi Pasteur on a building at the French drugmaker's vaccine unit Sanofi Pasteur plant in Neuville-sur-Saone, near Lyon, March 14, 2014
(Photo : REUTERS/Robert Pratta)

Sanofi announced Monday that its experimental dengue vaccine has successfully passed first of the two Phase III clinical studies.

Positive results in the clinical trial could move the French drugmaker closer to bringing out a vaccine that could protect half the world's population from a deadly disease.

Dengue is caused by any one of the four dengue viruses that are transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito.

According to the WHO, the disease has dramatically increased in the last few decades with about 50 percent of the world's population being at risk.

The latest efficacy study by Sanofi showed that the drug reduced 56 percent of dengue disease cases.  The trial was conducted in Asia and included 10,275 children aged 2 to 14 years from regions affected by dengue. The children were given either three injections of the drug or placebo at six-month intervals.

The company said that it will be reviewing the data of the study and will publish it in a peer-reviewed journal.

"This achievement is the result of more than 20 years of work in the field of dengue, collaborating with investigators, volunteers, authorities, scientific experts and international organizations," said Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, according to a news release. "Developing a dengue vaccine for the benefit of children and their parents is at the heart of our mission. Our goal is to make dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease and to support the WHO's ambition to reduce dengue mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25% by 2020."

Dengue is found in the tropical and sub-tropical countries. Commons symptoms of the disease include high fever, severe headache and pain behind the eyes. There is currently no treatment for the disease.

"This is the first time ever a dengue vaccine successfully completed a Phase III efficacy study," said Dr. Capeding, principal investigator, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the Philippines. "These significant clinical results, associated with the good safety profile of the vaccine, bring real hope to more than 100 million people affected each year by dengue, a disease without any specific treatment today." 

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