Dengue vaccine found to worsen disease symptoms

Story highlights

  • The Philippines has halted a massive dengue fever vaccination effort
  • The country has launched an investigation into the approval of Dengvaxia

(CNN)The Philippines has suspended its large-scale dengue vaccination effort amid the surprising results of a new study conducted by the vaccine's manufacturer.

On Wednesday, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur published clinical trial data showing that its dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, could have unintended consequences in patients who had never been infected with the mosquito-borne virus.
    "The analysis confirmed that Dengvaxia provides persistent (protective) benefit against dengue fever in those who had prior infection," Sanofi said in a statement. "For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection."
      On Monday, Harry Roque Jr., a spokesman for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, announced that the Department of Justice would launch an investigation into the fast-track approval of Dengvaxia by the previous administration. Assistant Health Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy said his agency would work with the Department of Education to monitor all recipients of the vaccine for adverse health effects.
      "We will leave no stone unturned in making those responsible for this shameless public health scam which puts hundreds of thousands of young lives at risk accountable," Roque said Sunday.
      In a statement, Sanofi said it would "continue to seek constructive and transparent dialogue" with the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines.
      More than 730,000 people in the Philippines have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia since April 2016, when the World Health Organization first recommended inoculating anyone 9 and older living in high-risk areas. Ninety percent had already had dengue, the country's Department of Health said.