World’s first dengue vaccine launched in the Philippines

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The Philippines is set to start administering the world’s first dengue vaccine to high-risk children.

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The historic drug took 20 years and $1.8 billion to develop.

The Philippines’ Department of Health launched a school-based immunization program in highly affected areas, making it the first country where the vaccine is commercially available.

Around 70% of dengue fever cases occur in Asia, with the Philippines reporting 200,000 cases in 2013, according to Sanofi.

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It’s one of the world’s most common mosquito-borne viruses, with severe symptoms including headaches, rashes and leaking blood vessels.

The makers of the vaccine are confident it can reduce cases in the Philippines by 24% over the next five years.

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