Singapore 'actively tracking' vaccine

The Singapore authorities have been keeping tabs on French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur and its plans for registering the dengue vaccine.

A spokesman for the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) told The Straits Times: "The Ministry of Health and HSA are actively tracking development of this vaccine and have been following up with Sanofi on their clinical trial results and plans for registration.

"Given the public health concerns associated with dengue, HSA has also been working closely with the company to advise on the registration process."

The spokesman said data submitted by the firm will be carefully evaluated to ensure the vaccine is safe, of high quality and effective before it is made available in Singapore.

Discussions are currently under way with the HSA to make the world's first dengue vaccine available in Singapore, according to Mr Baptiste De Clarens, general manager of Sanofi Pasteur Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. "While the regulatory review process is ongoing, the company cannot communicate publicly in which countries it has submitted the regulatory filing for the vaccine," he said.

In August last year, then-Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in Parliament that the dengue vaccine marketed by Sanofi was "not good enough" for Singapore. He said it was not effective enough against the two most common types of the dengue virus here, types 1 and 2.

The vaccinated group's risk of developing dengue is reduced by 50 per cent and 35 per cent respectively for types 1 and 2, compared with an unvaccinated group.

Sanofi Pasteur will also file its vaccine for regulatory approval in 20 countries, mainly in Asia and Latin America, by this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline Singapore 'actively tracking' vaccine. Subscribe