Tokyo: The Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda is developing a vaccine against dengue fever that is expected to be marketed in 2017, the Nikkei newspaper reported Monday, coinciding with the first outbreak of the disease in decades in Japan.
The vaccine, still in an experimental phase, uses a live weakened virus of the mosquito-borne disease and is the work of the US company Inviragen which was acquired by Takeda in 2013.
The safety and efficacy of the new drug have been tested in Colombia on 100 people between 18 and 45 years old, according to the results of tests published this month by a British medical journal.
Out of the 100 people who received the vaccine, 76 developed antibodies against the virus and 96 percent of them had effective defences against three serotypes of dengue, and 60 percent against all four known serotypes.
The second stage of the clinical tests will analyse the effects of the treatment on a bigger subject group and which is being carried out in Colombia, Singapore and Thailand, the daily reported.
If there are no setbacks then Takeda will start the manufacture of the vaccine in 2017 in regions where dengue is most common: southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
For the moment, the company will not sell the vaccine in Japan, where the first outbreak of dengue since 1945 has occurred over the past several weeks, affecting more than 70 people.
French pharma company Sanofi is also developing a vaccine against dengue which is already in its final stage of testing with an estimated release date of 2015.
Every year, around 50 to 100 million dengue infections are registered all over the world with a mortality rate of around 2.5 percent, much lower than that of other diseases like Ebola, which can reach 90 percent, according to data from the World Health Organisation.