Singapore

Dengue vaccine could harm those without prior infection

Dengvaxia, a dengue vaccine available here since March, could prove harmful to people who have never been infected by dengue.

Sanofi Pasteur, which produces the vaccine, sent out an alert saying: "For those not previously infected by dengue virus, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection."

The French pharmaceutical giant said it will ask the authorities in countries where it has been approved for use, such as here, to update information on the vaccine and to disseminate it to doctors and patients.

A spokesman for the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said yesterday it is working with Sanofi Pasteur to "strengthen the package insert" to include the warning of an increased risk of hospitalisation for dengue and clinically severe dengue in vaccinated individuals not previously infected by dengue.

However, for those who had been previously infected, it "provides persistent benefit against dengue fever".

Dengvaxia, the world's first dengue vaccine, was approved by HSA last year for use among patients aged between 12 and 45. - SALMA KHALIK

MEDICAL & HEALTH