A French biotechnology firm announced progress in developing what would be the first vaccination ever for preventing dengue fever, the New York Times reports.
The company Sanofi on Monday said its developmental dengue vaccine cut infections by 56 percent in an initial advanced clinical test with 10,275 child participants in Southeast Asia. Additional information on the findings is slated for release in print and at a medical gathering later in 2014, the firm said.
Spread via mosquitos, the disease affects as many as 100 million people worldwide annually. There are concerns that it could also potentially be used in biological warfare.
The United States has committed biodefense dollars to preparing immunizations and other drug countermeasures against the virus, which most frequently kills younger people and often affects populations in the tropics and subtropics. The latest study took place in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Two-thirds of the trial subjects, all children from ages 2 to 14, received three shots of the vaccine. The remaining control group received a mock vaccination for the virus.
“This achievement is the result of more than 20 years of work in the field of dengue, collaborating with investigators, volunteers, authorities, scientific experts and international organizations,” Olivier Charmeil, head of the firm’s vaccination branch, said in released comments. “Our goal is to make dengue the next vaccine-preventable disease.”