Could Sanofi's dengue vaccine become a game-changer?
- Dengue is a debilitating tropical viral disease that affects more than 100 countries and kills at least 22,000 people per year. It is spread by mosquitos and there is currently no treatment.
- Sanofi Pasteur (the vaccines division of Sanofi) has developed a vaccine that has been shown to safely protect everyone from pre-adolescents to adults from dengue.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has set as an objective of reducing dengue-related mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25% by 2020.
Dengue is the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in the world, putting 40% of the world's population at risk. Sanofi has been conducting various long-term studies to assess vaccine efficacy in preventing dengue-related hospitalizations, as well as infections in general.
The most recent data published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) focuses on interim data from a four-year, long-term study. Researchers found that protection against dengue reached 93% and prevention of hospitalizations due to dengue reached 80% in volunteers starting at age nine and all the way through various stages of adulthood.
Given the high rate of efficacy associated with Sanofi's vaccine and the significant unmet medical need associated with dengue, this truly represents a tropical medicine breakthrough. Surveillance and clincal study are continuing, but it seems as if it may be possible to achieve the WHO's dengue-related goals.
In a recent exclusive interview with BioPharma Dive, Sanofi's head of North American pharmaceuticals told BioPharma Dive that the dengue vax is one of the shining stars of the company's current pipeline. "I think in terms of our overall pipeline, the one that really reaches out, I think, has to be the dengue vaccine," said Jez Moulding. "The number of patients today that suffer from dengue, and there is no solution there for them today, this again has the potential to be a game-changer."