Mexico approves world's first anti-dengue vaccine

At a time when India was struggling with the increasing number of dengue cases with each passing year, the world's first anti-dengue vaccine has been approved by Mexico. The anti-dengue vaccine is designed to protect people in the 9-45 age group against all four subtypes of the virus.

The vaccine, named Dengvaxia, has been developed by France-based Sanofi Pasteur and is the product of an extensive clinical development programme running for almost two decades.

"Today, with this first marketing authorisation of Dengvaxia, we have achieved our goal of making dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease," said Olivier Brandicourt, Sanofi's managing director and chief executive officer, in a statement on Wednesday.

"This is a historic milestone for our company, for the global public health community and, most importantly, for half the world's population who lives at risk of dengue," he added.

While dengue, which is endemic to certain areas mostly in tropical and subtropical countries in Latin America and Asia and affects around 400 million people, India recorded one of the worst outbreaks of the deadly disease which took a toll of 32, in New Delhi alone till October.

The French drugmaker said on Wednesday that by year-end it would have filed for market approval in some 20 countries.

According to Guillaume Leroy, leader of the dengue team at Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine acted best as an immune booster for patients with some previous exposure.

In an interview with Reuters, he said, additional data over the coming years would be needed to assess whether the vaccine may be of use to travelers. "Health authorities will have to determine (future) recommendations." He said Sanofi's first 20 market approval requests were all in South America and Asia.

Europe was the target for early next year and the US in early 2017, he added.

"Mexico is one of the countries where we started our clinical trials, which has been associated with the program from the very beginning and whose regulatory authority is certified by the WHO," said Olivier Charmeil, Sanofi's executive vice president, vaccines.