Written bySneha Bengani ·
We might have a vaccine for dengue by the end of 2019.
To test its viability, the Drug Controller General of India has permitted pharmaceutical giant Panacea Biotec to conduct Phase I/II clinical trials in the country starting early next year.
India needs to act on war footing to check the spread of dengue and make its treatment affordable and accessible.
The incidence of dengue has risen alarmingly in India between 2015-2017.
According to the health ministry, it has affected at least 140,910 people and killed 216 till November 19 this year, with Tamil Nadu reporting the maximum cases (20,141).
In 2016, dengue affected at least 129,166 and killed 245 people. The number of cases and deaths for 2015 stand at 99,913 and 220 respectively.
Though India's official numbers are infamously grossly underestimated, the rising number of dengue cases have a silver lining about them.
For one, it shows India is getting better at reporting dengue, which means more people are turning to hospitals for treatment, resulting in greater awareness and sensitization.
A large patient-base also equips doctors with better research and analysis, facilitating efficient treatments.
Dengue's treatment is primarily supportive, with no specific therapeutic options available as yet. Its prevention currently is largely limited to only vector control measures.
But Panacea Biotec's advanced experimental vaccine, a single-dose shot, claims to stimulate a strong immune response against all four types of dengue viruses in people across all age groups.
Panacea Biotec and the Indian government are reportedly jointly investing Rs. 28.99 crore to develop the vaccine. The drug-maker collaborated with National Institutes of Health, US, for the resources and technology needed to create a vaccine that's safe and effective.
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