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WHO prequalifies new dengue vaccine

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

A new vaccine (TAK-003) for dengue has received prequalification from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Rogerio Gaspar, WHO Director for Regulation and Prequalification, has said.

Gaspar said in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja said that the prequalification was given on May 10.

Dengue is a vector-borne disease transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.

The WHO director stated that “TAK-003” is the second dengue vaccine to be prequalified by WHO.

“Developed by Takeda, it is a live-attenuated vaccine containing weakened versions of the four serotypes of the virus that cause dengue.

“WHO recommends the use of TAK-003 in children aged 6 to 16 years in settings with high dengue burden and transmission intensity.”

Gaspar added that the vaccine should be administered in a two-dose schedule with a three-month interval between doses.

He noted that TAK-003 is an important step in the expansion of global access to dengue vaccine and now eligible for procurement by UN agencies, including UNICEF and PAHO.

“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,” Gasper added.

He explained that the WHO prequalification list also included CYD-TDV vaccine against dengue, developed by Sanofi Pasteur.

“Severe dengue is a potentially lethal complication which can develop from dengue infections.

“It is estimated that there are over 100 to 400 million cases of dengue worldwide each year, with 3.8 billion people living in dengue endemic countries, most of which are in Asia, Africa, and America,” he said.

He noted that the largest number of dengue cases was reported in 2023, with the WHO Region of the Americas reporting 4.5 million cases and 2300 deaths.

“Dengue cases are likely to increase and expand geographically due to climate change and urbanisation,” he said.

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