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WHO prequalifies new dengue vaccine, aiding global fight against disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) has prequalified a new dengue vaccine known as TAK-003.

Developed by Takeda, this live-attenuated vaccine, which incorporates weakened forms of the four dengue virus serotypes, received WHO’s approval on May 10, 2024, marking it as the second dengue vaccine to achieve such recognition.

WHO recommends TAK-003 for children between the ages of 6 to 16 years residing in areas with high incidence and transmission rates of dengue.

The vaccine is to be administered via a two-dose regimen, spaced three months apart.

The WHO’s prequalification list also features the CYD-TDV vaccine, developed by Sanofi Pasteur, another pivotal tool in the fight against dengue.

Dengue fever has increasingly become a recognized public health issue in Nigeria, yet it remains largely underreported due to symptom overlap with more common febrile illnesses such as malaria.

The introduction of WHO-prequalified vaccines such as TAK-003 is especially crucial in urban and peri-urban areas, where high population densities and abundant mosquito breeding sites increase the risk of dengue transmission.

Dengue, a vector-borne disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, poses a significant health threat globally, with severe dengue as a potentially fatal complication.

Annually, an estimated 100-400 million dengue cases occur worldwide, affecting 3.8 billion people across endemic regions primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The record for the highest number of cases was set in 2023 when the WHO region of the Americas reported approximately 4.5 million cases and 2300 deaths.