Dengue fever, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the top 10 threats to global health. In a major development in dengue prevention, the WHO has recently endorsed Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ QDENGA vaccine. This endorsement marks a significant milestone in the fight against dengue and has the potential to make a positive impact on global health.
Dengue fever is caused by four different serotypes of the dengue virus, and recovery from one serotype does not provide immunity against the others. This increases the risk of severe disease upon subsequent infections. The prevalence of these serotypes varies geographically, making dengue a complex challenge to combat.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ QDENGA is a tetravalent vaccine designed to provide protection against all four serotypes of the dengue virus. The vaccine is based on a live-attenuated dengue serotype 2 virus, which serves as the genetic “backbone” for all four serotypes. This innovative approach aims to offer comprehensive protection against the diverse strains of the virus.
The endorsement of QDENGA by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) is a significant step forward in dengue prevention. SAGE has recommended the introduction of QDENGA in areas with a high dengue disease burden and intense transmission. The vaccine is recommended for children aged six to 16 years, and the vaccination schedule consists of two doses administered three months apart.
The WHO’s endorsement of QDENGA is based on extensive scientific evidence. SAGE reviewed data from 19 clinical trials involving over 28,000 participants, including the pivotal Phase 3 Tetravalent Immunization against Dengue Efficacy Study (TIDES). The TIDES trial demonstrated the efficacy of QDENGA in preventing dengue fever and hospitalization due to the virus. The vaccine has also shown long-term protection, with substantial efficacy even after 54 months.
While QDENGA is currently available in select markets, efforts are being made to expand its availability to new regions. However, there are challenges to overcome. Achieving uniform protection across all dengue virus serotypes is a complex task, and ensuring equitable access to the vaccine, particularly in low-resource settings, is crucial. Ongoing research and development efforts are necessary to enhance vaccine accessibility, effectiveness, and coverage.
The endorsement of QDENGA by the WHO brings hope for a brighter future in dengue prevention. With its robust scientific foundation, the vaccine has the potential to save lives and reduce the global burden of this disease. As QDENGA becomes available in more regions, continued vigilance in dengue prevention and ongoing research will be essential. While eradicating dengue is a challenging goal, this endorsement brings us one step closer to a future where dengue is a preventable and manageable disease.