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
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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid