Progress Seen in Developing Dengue Fever Vaccine

Scientists are “reasonably optimistic” about finding vaccines to control dengue fever, according to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“There are some really promising leads,” Fauci told reporters at the mid-point of a three-day meeting on the disease, jointly sponsored by his institute, the CDC, and the Pan American Health Organization in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Fauci said several vaccine candidates are in various stages of development — from pre-clinical to phase III trials — including a chimeric vaccine being developed by Sanofi Pasteur that the company has said might be available by 2015.

If that drug does well in ongoing efficacy trials, Fauci said, then the remaining hurdles will be regulatory and a vaccine might be “just a few years away.” If it fails to show efficacy, however, the timing of a vaccine is “unpredictable,” Fauci said.

Over the past five years, “there has been tremendous progress” in vaccine development, said Harold Margolis, MD, director of the CDC’s dengue branch. “We’ve finally gotten into the home stretch — but the home stretch can take a while.”

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