A completely effective dengue vaccine has been developed by US National Institutes of Health Scientists. The researchers said that the vaccine will be available by 2018. The promising small study was published on Wednesday.
The researchers are highly optimistic that the approach they used for dengue vaccine could be used to develop a vaccine for Zika. Zika is from the same viral family and spread by the same mosquito. The World Health Organisation has warned the countries that have dengue cases against Zika virus.
Though another dengue vaccine called Dengvaxia became available recently in Brazil, Mexico, Philippines and El Salvador, it may not be suitable for US, reported CNN.
Dengvaxia raises protective immune system antibodies against dengue. However, it cannot protect completely from the virus as people still get sick, as stated by Voice of America.
In a clinical trial, TV003 — the new vaccine for dengue, was 100% effective in preventing the disease. The study involved 50 volunteers. Twenty-four out of them who received the vaccine were exposed to the virus and none of them became infected. The researcher used a “human challenge model.”
Anna Durbin, an infectious-disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, was the principal investigator of the study.
She said, “To see that we got 100 percent protection against infection gives us great confidence in moving forward that the vaccine is going to work. So we were extremely excited.”
The type of experiment is considered as totally unethical but in this case, researchers got consent from healthy adults and used a form of the virus which is very weak. The researchers also said that this type of vaccines could be developed for several other diseases like malaria, flu and cholera.
Dengue infects nearly 400 million people of world’s tropical and subtropical regions in around 120 countries every year. There are four recognized strains of it. Thus, the vaccine needs to protect against all four types.