The First Dengue Vaccine in Thailand is Available at Samitivej

On December 20th, 2016, Samitivej Hospital held a press conference on the evolution of dengue prevention in Thailand.

Online PR News – 27-December-2016 – Bangkok – a press conference on the evolution of dengue prevention in Thailand which has led to the introduction of the first vaccine against four strains of the dengue virus, reducing its severity and allowing a better quality of life.

Surangkana Techapaitoon, MD, Hospital Director, Samitivej Children's Hospital, says that dengue fever can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, medical condition or economic status. "Samitivej Hospital is aware of the dengue fever problem in Thailand and around the world. Our focus is on preventing dengue fever and we are very happy that the first dengue vaccine is now available in Thailand," she said.

Dengue fever is a major public health problem in Thailand and other countries around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 3.9 billion people are at risk of infection from dengue viruses and 390 million people are infected annually, of which 96 million appear to have clinical manifestation. An estimated 500,000 people require hospitalization. About 2.5% of those affected die.

As a result, dengue brings about both economic and social loss. According to the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, 2015 was characterized by large dengue outbreaks worldwide. In Thailand, 144,952 dengue cases were reported in 2015, 247% higher than in 2014. Approximately 50,000 dengue cases and 57 deaths were reported in 2016. Many affected patients require hospitalization. Students miss an average of 4-6 days of school while working adults lose an average of 7-10 days of work if they are hospitalized. "Dengue fever is a public health problem with high medical costs. The launch of the first dengue vaccine at Samitivej in Thailand is good news. On top of that, Thailand has been involved in the development of this new dengue vaccine," Dr. Surangkana said.

On-umar Banpamai, MD., Infectious Diseases Specialist, Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital, says that the Philippines ranked first for highest dengue incidence in Asia, followed by Thailand. The most affected age group in Thailand was children aged 10–14, followed by 5–9, 15–24 and 25–34. The central region of Thailand showed the highest incidence.

There are four serotypes of the virus that cause dengue: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4. Creating a stable immunity simultaneously against all four dengue serotypes is complicated due to the unpredictable predominance of different serotypes at different points in time. Developed through collaboration among several countries, this vaccine targeting all four dengue strains (DENV-1, -2, -3 and -4) is a major advance in the effort to control this disease. The vaccine has shown to be 65.6% effective in preventing dengue, 93.2% effective in reducing the severity of the disease, and 80.8% effective in reducing hospitalization for dengue. It can be taken by individuals between 9-45 years of age.

Clinical Prof. Emeritus Sanay Chearskul, MD., Head of Infection Prevention and Control, Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, says that the highest incidence of dengue was reported between June and September due to climatic factors such as rainfall, temperature and humidity which affected population numbers of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. "It is important to be vaccinated early to develop immunity and prevent the disease," Dr. Sanay advised.

The vaccine for the dengue virus has been approved and recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 for use in Thailand. It is classed as safe based on the pooled analysis of data from 18 clinical trials. Administering at least one single shot to volunteers aged 9–60 years has proved to be safe. The live recombinant tetravalent vaccine has been registered in 13 countries, including Thailand. The vaccine is administered as a 3-dose series on a 0/6/12 month schedule. The vaccine stimulates an immune system response to produce antibodies. Each person may develop immunity at different points in time, but immunity usually occurs after 2 shots. The goal of the WHO is to reduce dengue mortality by at least 50% and hospitalization by at least 25% by 2020.

The research and development of the vaccine for dengue fever began 20 years ago in 10 endemic countries in 2 regions. Ongoing clinical studies have been conducted with patients aged 2-14 years in 5 Asian countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) and with patients aged 9-16 years in Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Puerto Rico).

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