Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thailand developing dengue vaccine

Dengue fever, the hemorrhagic fever resulting from a flavivirus infection may soon be better controlled.  Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease and affects huge populations with endemic aedes mosquito populations.  Dengue affects south-east Asia quite severely. Within Thailand alone, the virus infects upwards of 115,000 and kills around 140 each year.  

In response to this still untreatable disease, Researchers at Chiang Mai University, Mahidol University, and the National Center for Genetic Engineering in Thailand have been developing a vaccine against the four main strains of Dengue. So far the vaccine is still a prototype, but it has already been successfully tested in mouse and monkey models.  The vaccine is moving slowly towards human tests, but researchers are hoping to release the vaccine within the next decade.

A vaccine to Dengue would help prevent many deaths and would avert many very serious cases of infection.  The rapidly development of vaccines marks an improvement in scientific techniques, but also reflects a heightened awareness regarding virology and a greater awareness for public health.


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