Dengue vaccine could be approved here in six months: Health Sciences Authority

The new vaccine, produced by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Pasteur, is currently approved for use in four countries.
The new vaccine, produced by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Pasteur, is currently approved for use in four countries. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is speeding up its evaluation of the world's first dengue vaccine as the number of cases here soars.

It plans to issue its decision on whether the vaccine is approved for use here in around six months, rather than the nine months this process would normally take.

"Given the public health concerns associated with dengue, and recognising that this is the first dengue vaccine in Singapore, HSA is committed to expediting the evaluation," a spokesman said.

The authority will be looking at data obtained from animal studies and 24 clinical trials. It will also look at how the vaccine was manufactured to ensure it is of good quality. In addition, HSA will consult a team of infectious disease experts to complement its internal review processes.

 
 
 

"Approval will be granted only after determining that the potential benefits outweigh the likely risks for the use of the vaccine," the spokesman said.

The new vaccine, produced by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Pasteur, is currently approved for use in four countries. However, the authorities here have previously said this vaccine is "not good enough" for Singapore as it offers best protection against two strains of the virus that are less common here.

There have been more than 6,600 dengue cases this year, with some experts warning that the total annual number could hit a record high of more than 30,000.

In February, the National Environment Agency announced it was stepping up anti-dengue efforts. They included training more than 5,000 additional grassroots volunteers to educate residents on preventing mosquito breeding, and deploying another 20,000 mosquito traps by June.

The agency also announced that all home owners will face fines of $200 if they are found to have mosquitoes breeding at home. Previously, only those whose homes were in active dengue clusters were penalised.