Mexican authorities on Wednesday approved the world’s first ever immunization program against the mosquito-borne virus dengue.
The deadly disease, which has claimed 1128 lives over the last six years in India according to government figures, affects around 100 million people in the world mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Symptoms of the disease include high fever along with severe muscle and joint pain. Further infections can cause internal bleeding, shock, organ failure and even death.
French drugmaker Sanofi SA’s vaccine branded Dengvaxia was successful against 66% of people infected with dengue, in two large clinical trials, involving 40,000 children and adolescents older than 9 years, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The vaccine reportedly reduced hospitalizations due to dengue by 80% and proved to be most effective at protecting against the potentially fatal form of the disease, by preventing 93% of cases.
The report also suggests that the French drugmaker specializing in the diabetes drug market, which is currently underperforming, expects to earn significant profits through this vaccine. But that will also depend on public vaccination drives being launched by governments across Latin America and Asia, where the disease is most widespread.
Olivier Charmeil, head of Sanofi’s vaccines business told WSJ, the vaccine will be manufactured at two plants in France and the company will file for approval of the vaccine in 20 of the countries where it is most widespread by the end of the year.
He added that Sanofi would file for approval in Europe in 2016, and in the U.S. in 2017. Sanofi has also been in talks with the World Health Organization, a company spokeswoman said.