Vaccine tries to defeat dengue

23 September, 2010

Perth researchers are about to trial a new vaccine that aims to protect against all four strains of the potentially devastating Dengue Fever.

The study is being conducted by the Vaccine Trials Group at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in conjunction with Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and UWA School of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Study leader, Associate Professor Peter Richmond said a vaccine against this mosquito-borne virus would be of great value to Australian travellers.

"Dengue Fever is an increasing scourge in South East Asia and we have occasional outbreaks in Northern Queensland", Dr Richmond said. "A safe and effective vaccine would be of great benefit to our region, and provide protection for Australians heading to these popular tourist destinations."

Dengue Fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease, which is now present in all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Over half of the world's population live in areas at high risk of infection from this virus.

Dengue virus can cause fever, often with severe headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains and skin rash. It can cause more severe symptoms and can be fatal, mainly in children.

"At the moment there is no licensed vaccine available to prevent dengue disease and no specific treatment exists", Dr Richmond said. "Controlling mosquito numbers is the only effective method of prevention at this time."

Healthy adults aged between 18 and 60 years who want to find out more about participating in the study can contact a research nurse on 9340 8542.

The vaccine is being trialled in eight centres around Australia and has been developed by one of the world's leading vaccine companies, Sanofi Pasteur.

Source: The University of Western Australia