The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunisation has recommended the use of Sanofi’s dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

Dengvaxia is the first vaccine in the world licensed for the prevention of dengue fever.

As of March this year, Dengvaxia was licensed in Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil and El Salvador, for the prevention of dengue from all four serotypes in individuals aged between nine and 45 years living in endemic areas.

Sanofi global R&D president Elias Zerhouni said: "Dengvaxia has been approved in four countries already, including Mexico and Brazil, which have regulatory authorities recognized by the WHO.

"These WHO SAGE recommendations further validate the scientific and medical value of Dengvaxia and send a clear message to endemic countries about the strong public health benefit to be gained by introducing the dengue vaccine in integrated disease management efforts to combat their dengue burden."

"Dengvaxia has been approved in four countries already, including Mexico and Brazil, which have regulatory authorities recognized by the WHO."

SAGE advises that countries with high dengue transmission should consider introduction of the dengue vaccine as part of an integrated disease prevention strategy including vector control, to effectively lower their dengue disease burden.

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The introduction of dengue immunisation besides other prevention efforts is anticipated to help endemic countries achieve the WHO objectives to reduce dengue morbidity by 25% and mortality by 50% by 2020.

The recommendation is based on results of 25 clinical studies, which evaluated the efficacy of the vaccine in more than 40,000 people in 15 different endemic and non-endemic countries around the world.

In these studies, Dengvaxia was shown to reduce dengue fever due to all four serotypes in two-thirds of the participants and prevent eight out of ten hospitalisations and up to 93% of severe dengue cases.

Image: Dengue virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, particularly A. aegypti. Photo: courtesy of Muhammad Mahdi Karim.