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Dengue Fever Vaccine Promotion Initiative Unveiled

Mosquito (Germán Meyer)The International Vaccine Institute announced the launch of the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI), a joint project that aims to reduce the economic and infrastructure barriers to the use of a dengue vaccine. Participants include the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and World Health Organization, with funding from a $6.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The initiative aims to make vaccines to control dengue fever more accessible and affordable. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne infection which initally causes severe flu-like symptoms, but can lead to a potentially lethal complication, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHV), characterized by bleeding, plasma fluid leakage, and in severe cases shock and death.

DVI is expected concentrate its initial work in two countries — Colombia and Thailand — to generate data on the burden and prevalence of dengue infection, potential private demand, and cost of illness. DVI will also carry out private demand and cost of illness studies in Brazil and Vietnam.

Each year, an estimated 2 million people with DHF require hospitalization, which represents a significant burden on the fragile health care systems of developing nations. DHF has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in several countries.

Current methods for controlling the disease are limited to vector (carrier) control, which have been largely ineffective at reducing the number of dengue cases and geographic reach of the infection. New dengue vaccines are likely to be licensed in a few years, but significant advance work is needed to raise the priority and support for the new vaccines.

Read more: Gates Foundation Grants $50M for New Insecticides

Photo: Germán Meyer/Flickr

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