Reasearchers at the Serum Institute of India have taken up the challenge of developing a vaccine against dengue virus. In its efforts,researchers here have tied up the University of Mahidol,Thailand. Till October,India has reported 55,063 dengue cases and 138 deaths.
Dengue is a flavivirus that causes an estimated 50 million infections annually with five lakh cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever and 22,000 deaths across the world. While effective vaccines are available against other flaviviruses likeJapanese encephalitis virus and yellow fever virus,no effective vaccine is available against dengue.
Preventive efforts have focused on vector control,an expensive strategy with low effectiveness. This has made the need for a vaccine all the more pressing. Although several candidate vaccines have emerged,no dengue vaccine has been licensed for clinical use,Dr Rajeev Dhere,Executive Director,Serum Institute of India told The Indian Express.
Recently,in accordance with the WHO and Dengue Vaccine Initiative directive,the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB,New Delhi) is currently developing a non-infectious dengue vaccine based on the well-established Hepatitis B vaccine technology.
Adding to the ongoing efforts is Serum Institutes move to join hands with researchers in Thailand. Dr Rajeev Dhere,Executive Director,Serum Institute of India Limited,said four seeds of the dengue serotypes have been developed by researchers at Thailand. It will still take some time before we can commence clinical trials,Dhere said.
India is endemic for dengue infection with repeated epidemics. These outbreaks lead to high morbidity,panic among the population and severe stress on healthcare facilities.
Vector control measures have largely been unsuccessful in controlling dengue. An effective vaccine would be of help in combating this disease,institute officials added.