MEXICO UNVEILS WORLD’S FIRST DENGUE VACCINE

MEXICO CITY — Mexico unveiled the world’s first approved dengue vaccine on Wednesday, saying the treatment is 60.5 percent effective against dengue and 93.2 percent effective against severe dengue.

The approval followed two years of clinical trials worldwide on more than 40,000 patients, including Mexicans, the country’s Ministry of Health said in a press release.

“Mexico today (Wednesday) approved the world’s first vaccine against the dengue virus,” the ministry said.

“This vaccine can prevent more than 8,000 hospitalizations, 104 deaths annually, and save 1.1 billion pesos (USD64 million) each year in reduced costs tied to medical attention,” the ministry added.

According to the World Health Organization, “nearly 40 percent of the world’s population (3.9 billion people) is at risk of contracting dengue.”

Around 400 million people in more than 128 countries are infected with the mosquito-borne virus each year.

In Mexico, the ministry said, a total of 32,100 cases were registered last year, including 8,668 cases of severe dengue, which cost the country over 3.2 billion pesos (USD187 million), or an equivalent of 2.5 percent of the health budget for 2016. PNA/Xinhua