FDA approves first vaccine for prevention of dengue disease


The Food and Drug Administration has approved Dengvaxia, the first vaccine indicated for the prevention of dengue virus disease caused by all viral serotypes. The vaccine was approved for children aged 9-16 years who live in endemic areas and have previously had laboratory-confirmed dengue disease.

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Dengue is endemic in the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to an FDA statement announcing the approval.

While the first infection with dengue virus typically results in either no symptoms or a mild illness that can be mistaken for the flu, a second infection can lead to a more severe form of the disease, including dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. About 95% of hospitalized patients with dengue disease have a second dengue virus infection.

FDA approval of Dengvaxia is based on results from three randomized, placebo-controlled studies of 35,000 individuals in dengue-endemic areas. The vaccine was about 76% effective in preventing symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed dengue disease in people aged 9-16 years with a previous dengue diagnosis. The most common adverse events were headache, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, injection site pain, and low-grade fever; the frequency of adverse events decreased after each subsequent dose.

“Infection by one type of dengue virus usually provides immunity against that specific serotype, but a subsequent infection by any of the other three serotypes of the virus increases the risk of developing severe dengue disease. ... The FDA’s approval of this vaccine will help protect people previously infected with dengue virus from subsequent development of dengue disease,” Peter Marks, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in the FDA statement.

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