Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Global Impact: Japanese Pharmaceutical Firm Takeda Plans to Have Vaccine Against Dengue Fever by 2017

According to The Latin American Tribune, the Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda is developing a vaccine against dengue fever that is expected to be marketed in 2017, according to Nikkei on Monday (September 8), coinciding with the first outbreak of the disease in decades in Japan.

The vaccine, still in an experimental phase, uses a live weakened virus of the mosquito-borne disease and is the work of the US company Inviragen that was acquired by Takeda in 2013.

The safety and efficacy of the new drug have been tested in Colombia on 100 people between 18 and 45-years-of-age, according to the results of tests published this month by a British medical journal.

Out of the 100 people who received the vaccine, 76 developed antibodies against the virus and 96% of them had effective defenses against three serotypes of dengue, and 60% against all four known serotypes.

The second stage of the clinical tests is to analyze the effects of the treatment on a larger subject group and which is being carried out in Colombia, Singapore and Thailand,  Nikkei reported.

COMMENT: If there are no setbacks, Takeda will commence manufacturing the vaccine in 2017, in regions where dengue is most common: Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

For the moment, the company will not sell the vaccine in Japan, where the first outbreak of dengue since 1945 has occurred over the past several weeks, affecting more than 70 people.

French pharmaceutical firm, Sanofi, is also developing a vaccine against dengue that is already in its final stage of testing with an estimated release date of 2015.

Every year around 50 to 100 million dengue infections are registered all over the world with a mortality rate of around 2.5%, much lower than that of other diseases like Ebola, which can reach 90%, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).