News / Health

    Vaccine to Guard Against Dengue Fever Is Almost at Hand

    FILE - A nurse prepares an emergency test to diagnose dengue at a medical care unit in the Sao Sebastiao neighborhood of Brasilia, Brazil, Feb. 19, 2016.
    FILE - A nurse prepares an emergency test to diagnose dengue at a medical care unit in the Sao Sebastiao neighborhood of Brasilia, Brazil, Feb. 19, 2016.
    Jessica Berman

    Researchers are on the cusp of a commercially available vaccine to prevent dengue fever, a viral disease spread by mosquitoes that threatens half of the world’s population.

    In addition, a vaccine against the Zika virus, a close relative of dengue, will most likely enter clinical trials this year.

    The dengue virus infects an estimated 400 million people in 120 countries each year. While the symptoms, including a rash, are usually not serious, the disease nonetheless kills some 25,000 people annually. Most succumb to a dreaded hemorrhagic form of the disease.

    In a clinical trial, the new vaccine against the dengue virus, for now called TV003, was 100 percent effective in preventing the disease in a study involving 50 volunteers.

    Twenty-four of the participants who received the experimental vaccine were exposed to the virus and not one became infected. By contrast, all of those in the control group, who were not vaccinated, became infected.

    “To see that we got 100 percent protection against infection gives us great confidence in moving forward that the vaccine is going to work. So we were extremely excited,” said Anna Durbin, an infectious-disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a principal investigator.

    There are four versions of dengue. Symptoms become more severe each time a person is infected. So a vaccine has to protect against all four types.

    Enclosed in a mosquito net, Nadia Gonzalez recovers from a bout of dengue fever at a hospital in Luque, Paraguay, Feb. 5, 2016.
    Enclosed in a mosquito net, Nadia Gonzalez recovers from a bout of dengue fever at a hospital in Luque, Paraguay, Feb. 5, 2016.

    Existing vaccine

    There is already a dengue vaccine called Dengvaxia. While it raises protective immune system antibodies against dengue, people still get sick.

    TV003 successfully shielded those involved in the study against a mild strain of dengue 2, the most aggressive of all the disease types. TV003 requires only a single dose compared with multiple shots of Dengvaxia.

    A five-year clinical trial involving 17,000 people in Brazil is in the works. But Durbin said there would probably be enough data by 2018 to seek regulatory approval.

    Clinical trials are also expected to begin in September or October of a vaccine against the Zika virus, an emerging threat also spread by mosquitoes. It has been linked to brain defects in newborns, and also to the paralytic disease Guillain-Barre syndrome. Efforts to fight Zika could also help the fight against dengue.

    Zika is "sort of like a cousin to dengue," Durbin said. "And what that means is that the recombinant DNA technology that the NIH [National Institutes of Health] has developed for Zika virus will be able to be ... applied quite easily to dengue because it has the same genetic structure.”

    NIH scientists developed the successful dengue vaccine that researchers reported upon in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

    Durbin said the aim is to give the dengue vaccine to children before they become infected for the first time.

    Any Zika vaccine would likely be targeted to women of childbearing age as a way to combat any potential birth defects associated with the disease.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John
    March 18, 2016 6:26 AM
    Sounds good. My brothers mother-in-law was infected with dengue. It can cause real problems.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora