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