World Health Organization backs Philippines suspension of Sanofi's dengue vaccine

World Health Organization backs Philippines suspension of Sanofi's dengue vaccine

The Philippines banned a government program, which involved immunizing children with Dengvaxia after releasing Sanofi's findings.

The FDA further instructed Sanofi to conduct an information dissemination campaign through Advisories, Dear Doctor Letters, and Patient fora.

"Rather, WHO outlined a series of considerations national governments should take into account in deciding whether to introduce the vaccine, based on a review of available data at the time, along with possible risks", the WHO Country Office said in a statement.

Last week, the Philippines' health department suspended the vaccination after Sanofi announced evidence showing that people who receive the vaccine, known as Dengvaxia, without previous dengue infection could face the risk of their disease worsening. An analysis of long-term clinical data had revealed that, in individuals who had never contracted dengue, the vaccine could make subsequent infections more severe.

On Nov. 29, the company disclosed that it would ask global health regulators to restrict use of its much-touted dengue vaccine to only people who have previously been infected by the virus. No cases in the most severe level were recorded, and all those stricken with dengue in the study have fully recovered, she said.

An estimate of 734,000 children aged over nine have received the first dose of the Dengvaxia through the country's dengue public immunization program, the world's first, according to officials.

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In a report by the PHO in their "Dengue Surveillance" update (as of November 27, 2017) a total of 4,472 cases were reported, higher than the 3,824 cases reported a year ago.

The Department of Health procured P3 billion worth of Dengvaxia intended for one million public school children in areas reported to have the highest incidence of dengue in the same year.

"The WHO position paper did not include a recommendation to countries to introduce the dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs".

Dengvaxia, the first approved Dengue vaccine, had been forecast by Sanofi to eventually bring in almost $1 billion in annual sales.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease that kills about 20,000 people a year and infects hundreds of millions.

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