News / Asia

Thailand Cites Progress Towards Dengue Fever Vaccine

Thai health officials spray chemical to kill mosquitos during a campaign to fight against dengue fever at a slum area on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, May 13, 2005 (file photo)
Thai health officials spray chemical to kill mosquitos during a campaign to fight against dengue fever at a slum area on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, May 13, 2005 (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Ron Corben

Thailand’s Ministry of Science says progress is being made to develop a vaccine for the mosquito-borne dengue fever virus, which each year claims thousands of lives across South East Asia. Thailand hopes to produce an affordable vaccine for the regional market within a decade.

The World Health Organization says up to 50 million people a year, in more than 100 countries, are infected by the mosquito-borne dengue fever virus. Scientists say the virus’ spread is aided by higher rainfall patterns in tropical areas.

The challenge for scientists has long been in developing a single vaccine to match the four types of dengue virus.

Now, Thai scientists and Thailand’s Ministry of Health say a successful round of preliminary tests offers hope they will produce a dengue vaccine in the near future.

On Monday, the Ministry appointed private company Bionet-Asia to oversee the production effort.

Thai Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Virachai Virameteekul, said the vaccine’s development, thus far, is a major accomplishment after decades of research into the virus.

"This is a very big step in terms of producing the dengue vaccine which is the accumulation of our knowledge and Thai scientists and Thai researchers over the past 20 to 30 years. What we are successful today is this, we are able to come up with a vaccine solution that is workable in the laboratory."

Each year an estimated 200,000 people in Thailand fall ill from the virus. Children are most at risk of death because they lack the anti-body protection adults develop.

A project researcher, Dr. Boonsok Keelapang, says children will be the main beneficiaries of a vaccine.

"It will take some time because this is like the first generation. So if we test we may need to adjust at some point to make a safer vaccine. (But) it is important because if we succeed we can help our children in our country because dengue is the disease affecting Thai people - all the people in South East Asia - and we need all the power to help together and to make it work."

Scientists say challenges remain in the final production of a vaccine. There are four types of the dengue virus, but a single vaccine dose must be able to able to cover all types of the virus to avoid complications for the patient.

Bionet-Asia president Vitoon Vongsangool expects the company to spend up to $100 million before the vaccine is commercially available.  The key challenge, he said, is to ensure it is affordable.

"Our concern is that we want to make it affordable. We are unlike a multi-national. We want to make the vaccine affordable. When you make it affordable you get more in terms of volume (which) we are quite confident because we know the cost."

Vitoon said the main regional markets will include India, Indonesia, South East Asia and China, once the vaccine becomes commercially available within 10 years. He said the development also will enable Thailand to be self sufficient with technical development, as well as manpower.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid