The world's first dengue fever vaccine, developed by French drugmaker Sanofi, reduced cases of the disease by 56.5 percent during a clinical study conducted in five Asian countries, including Vietnam.
The vaccine also slashed the severe cases of dengue by 88.5 percent and the risk of hospitalization by 67 percent during the study, Dr. Tran Ngoc Huu, a key researcher of the vaccines impact in Vietnam, announced during a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.
The study -- conducted on 10,275 children aged 2-14 across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam -- determined that the three-dose vaccine was safe and had no serious side effects, Huu said.
The vaccine provided 13 months of inoculation against the virus after the third dose was administered, adding that his team will closely monitor the duration of the vaccine's efficacy until November 2017.
“We are moving towards the dengue vaccine. This vaccine, in coordination with other preventive measures, will make the fight against dengue fever more effective, bringing big benefits to the health sector,” Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long told the seminar.
Representatives from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine unit of Sanofi, say they will seek to register the vaccine candidate and subject to regulatory approval the world's first dengue vaccine could be available by the second half of 2015.
“We plan to submit the vaccine for licensing in 2015 in endemic countries where dengue is a public health priority,” Olivier Charmeil, President and CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.
Nearly half the world's population is at risk of contracting dengue fever - also known as "breakbone fever" because of the severe pain it can cause.
The disease afflicts some 100 million people each year, according to the World Health Organization.
An estimated 500,000 people with severe dengue require hospitalization each year, many of whom are children. About 2.5 percent of those affected die, WHO says.