WHO expert group backs use of Sanofi's dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in endemic countries

Sanofi announced Friday that the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) recommended use of the company's Dengvaxia vaccine in countries with high dengue transmission. Specifically, the organisation backed the use of the vaccine in countries with a dengue prevalence exceeding 50 percent as part of an integrated disease prevention strategy to lower disease burden.

According to Sanofi, the recommendation by SAGE was backed by a technical review of data from 25 clinical studies involving more than 40 000 participants. Results unveiled in 2014 demonstrated that the vaccine reduced the number of virologically confirmed cases of dengue by 56.5 percent among children. Meanwhile, results of a second study indicated that Dengvaxia was associated with a 60.8-percent decline in dengue cases among adolescents.

Dengvaxia initially gained approval last year in Mexico, making it the first vaccine to be licensed in the world for the prevention of dengue. The vaccine was subsequently authorised for dengue prevention in Brazil, the Philippines and El Salvador.

Earlier this month, the Philippines became the first country to launch a public dengue immunisation programme, with the aim to vaccinate 1 million public school children this year. Guillaume Leroy, vice president of Sanofi Pasteur's Dengue Company, indicated that the drugmaker is in discussions with several governments in Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, El Salvador and Mexico, to launch vaccination campaigns. "Many countries had been waiting for guidance from the WHO before making their decision," Leroy explained.

Although Sanofi has not yet clarified its price for Dengvaxia, Leroy indicated that the vaccine will be "affordable," adding its "economic value will be higher than its cost." Jefferies analysts have estimated that the vaccine could generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue. 

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