The results of testing the vaccine developed by the Butantan Institute to combat dengue showed promising results. The effectiveness of the vaccine, among people aged 2 to 59 years, was 79.6%. The data was published this Wednesday, 31, in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world.
In phase 3 of the clinical trial, the effectiveness of the vaccine in the adult population, which comprises the age group from 18 to 59 years of age, reached 90%. Among children aged 2 to 6 years old, the result reached 80.1%; and reached 77.8% among young people, aged 7 to 17.
Furthermore, according to the study, among people who participated in the tests and already had antibodies because they had contracted the infection before receiving the vaccine, the effectiveness was 89.2%. Among those who had no contact with the virus, it was 73.6%.
For three years, the Brazilian vaccine was tested on 16,235 volunteers in Brazil, in partnership with 16 clinical research centers across the country; among them, that of the Federal University of Sergipe, located at Hospital São João de Deus, in the municipality of Laranjeiras.
The professor of the Department of Medicine and the Postgraduate Program in Health Sciences at UFS, Ricardo Queiroz Gurgel, leads the clinical trial of the vaccine in the state and is one of the 35 researchers who signed the publication in the international scientific journal.
“This is a major milestone in clinical research with vaccines in Brazil. It was the development of this vaccine that initiated the creation of several research centers in the country to investigate the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine against dengue,” says the researcher.
Single and tetravalent dose
The Butantan vaccine is applied in a single dose and is classified as tretavalent, as it protects against four dengue serotypes. They are: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3 and DENV-4. However, during the testing period, only the first two types were circulating in the country. In this case, the observed efficacy reached 89.5% in DENV-1, and 69.6% in DENV-2.
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“We are talking about a vaccine that protects against the four serotypes of the virus and which has been proven to be safe and effective in tackling a public health problem, which is the dengue epidemic”, highlights Ricardo Gurgel.
Application via SUS
The next stage of the research is to submit the vaccine for approval by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency). The Butantan Institute’s forecast is to make the vaccine available to the general population, through the Unified Health System (SUS), from 2025.
“The main objective of the vaccine is to protect people, mainly, from the severe form of the disease, reducing the transmission of the virus and preventing hospitalizations and deaths due to the infection,” adds the professor.
The infection is caused by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Among the main symptoms of dengue are: fever, body aches, nausea, red spots on the skin, lack of appetite, persistent vomiting and bleeding of mucous membranes.
In the first month of 2024 alone, according to data from the Ministry of Health, Brazil has already registered more than 240 thousand cases of the disease. This represents a 160% increase in the number of probable and confirmed cases, compared to the same period last year.
Source and photo: Ascom/UFS