Date: 4th May 2019
The US Food and Drug Administration approved a dengue vaccine for the first time. However, the vaccine, which is called Dengvaxia, is only allowed to be used with certain restrictions. The restrictions come as the vaccine may make some people vulnerable to a more serious type of the disease.
The FDA approved the vaccine in light of potentially preventing a disease which has affected millions of people globally. Besides that, the product is also expected to get back in the market after long periods of low sales due to its potential risks to patients.
The manufacturer of the vaccine Dengvaxia, Sanofi, started selling its products back in 2015. However, the sales were majorly overseas. Its sales were halted after the Philippines took away the firm’s licence to sell the vaccine in the country. The Philippines used to provide the vaccines to young children but stopped doing so in 2017.
The Philippines government stopped imports of Dengvaxia after Sanofi announced that while it has a minute chance, some patients may be vulnerable to a riskier form of the disease if vaccinated.
Therefore, the FDA has been considerate towards the usage of the vaccine. The agency announced on May 1 that the vaccine could only be used for patients aged between 9 and 16. In addition to that, it shall be used for people who already have the disease and live in areas where the disease is common.
The disease can be highly painful for patients. Also known as breakbone fever, it accompanies headaches, muscle and joint pain, and body weakness. According to estimates, about 400 million people are affected by the virus globally. Out of these, 500,000 people are affected by a more severe form of the disease, called dengue haemorrhagic fever, which has the potential to kill the patients. About 20,000 deaths have been reported due to the later according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.