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

Philippines government investigates Dengvaxia dengue vaccine

The Brazilian government said on Monday it has suggested restrictions on the use of a dengue vaccine that has been suspended elsewhere after French drug company Sanofi SA said it could worsen the disease in some cases.

With the vaccine now widely available, the Philippines health authority rushed to vaccinate almost 734,000 children, as part of a program that cost the government 3.5 billion pesos.

Sanofi officials reported that there were no deaths reported due to the vaccine in the Philippines.

Health Assistant Secretary and infectious disease specialist Lyndon Lee Suy said they will continuously monitor the condition of Filipino recipients who already received doses of the vaccine.

Following alarming research about the safety of Sanofi's dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, The Philippines has halted its sale, distribution and marketing "to protect the general public".

The Department of Justice on Monday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into "the alleged danger to public health. and if evidence so warrants, to file appropriate charges thereon".

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, in an emailed statement to Reuters, said it had not received any reports of vaccine recipients dying or falling more severely ill because of the drug.

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The WHO suggested the vaccine be used only among people who have had dengue infection before.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque gestures during a news conference in Manila, November 28, 2017.

According to Sanofi in Manila, 19 licences were granted for Dengvaxia, and it was launched in 11 countries, two of which - the Philippines and Brazil - had public vaccination programs.

While Sanofi's Dengvaxia is the first-ever approved vaccine for dengue, scientists already recognized it was not ideal and did not protect equally against the four different types of the virus in clinical tests.

The manufacturer of a dengue fever vaccine that was suspended in the Philippines after a new study showed a greater risk of severe cases in people without previous infection said yesterday it is working with authorities to address fears and share the new information.

Sanofi's announcement late Friday that it would shutter its C. difficile vaccine program closed a damaging week for the pharma.

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