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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid