New vaccine prequalified by World Health Organization for mosquito-spread dengue virus

The vaccine was recommended for use in children where virus transmission is high, and it would be administered in multiple doses.
Brazil and other countries in regions with tropical zones try to control Dengue fever by controlling mosquito populations.
Posted at 12:12 PM, May 15, 2024

The World Health Organization said officials have prequalified a new vaccine for dengue, a virus spread by mosquitoes largely in countries with tropical climates.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that while dengue incidents are generally low, there have been spikes in cases in recent years. International travel increases tend to lend to the threat the U.S. faces.

The WHO-prequalified vaccine, called TAK-003, is recommended for children 6–16 years old who are in environments where dengue spread is high and burdensome on public health. It would be administered in two doses on a schedule that allows for a three-month pause between doses.

WHO Director for Regulation and Prequalification Dr. Rogerio Gaspar said, "With only two dengue vaccines to date prequalified, we look forward to more vaccine developers coming forward for assessment, so that we can ensure vaccines reach all communities who need it."

The CDC says dengue cases have been mostly reported in 49 continental U.S. states in incidents in which the patient had traveled and was infected in another location. The health agency said dengue cases are most common in "the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands," along with "the freely associated states, including the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau."

Dengue fever typically carries a mortality rate of less than 1% if it is detected early and treated properly. If left untreated, the mortality rate can be as high as 20%, the CDC said.