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Dengue Vaccine Approved and Should be on Sale Within Three Months

12/29/2015 - 09h10

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FLÁVIA FOREQUE
FROM BRASÍLIA

The Brazilian government has authorized the country's first dengue vaccine, produced by the French laboratory Sanofi Pasteur. It is expected to be on sale within three months.

The Ministry of Health says that it is considering provision of the vaccine on the public health system, and that such plans are "priority", but it still expressed some reservations about the vaccine.

The vaccine, which has already been authorized in Mexico and the Philippines, is aimed at the 9 to 45 age range. It is administered in three doses, six months apart, and has a total efficacy rate of 66%.

The laboratory Sanofi Pasteur says that price will depend on the government's provision strategy. Marcelo Castro, the minister of health, says that cost is a "problem". He suggested it may cost as much as €20 (R$ 84) per dose.

Jarbas Barbosa, president of the National Health Surveillance Agency, said in May that its efficacy is "limited", and that a break of six months between each dose "would not prevent infection."

Moreover, University of São Paulo infectologist Esper Kallás is critical of the fact that the vaccine is not available for young children and the elderly - the two groups most at risk of serious cases of dengue.

However, Sheila Homsani, Sanofi Pasteur medical director, argues that 70% of Brazil's dengue cases affect the age range for which the vaccine will be available.

Brazil registered 1.58 million probable cases of dengue up to the start of December - nearly three times the figure for the same period in 2014.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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