Controversy over dengue vaccine risk

06 September 2019 Vol 365, Issue 6457


In Depth
Controversy over dengue vaccine risk
By Jon Cohen
Science06 Sep 2019 : 961-962 Restricted Access
All immunized Filipino kids should be tested, some say.
Shortly after Dengvaxia came to market in 2015, the Philippines launched a massive campaign to immunize children against the dreaded diseases. After about 1 million children were vaccinated, Sanofi Pasteur, the Paris-based maker of the product, revealed that ongoing clinical trials had found a rare, dangerous complication. Four distinct variants of dengue infect humans. In a well-known phenomenon, people infected with one strain who become infected with a second one become vulnerable to severe dengue, which can cause life-threatening shock and hemorrhagic fever. The vaccine, when given to children who had never been infected with dengue, primes some for that rare phenomenon of severe disease. Now, some researchers are calling for studies that would test the vaccinated children and identify the ones most at risk. They contend that if parents knew their children were at increased risk of severe disease, they could more aggressively seek care if they suspected dengue. This also might alleviate confusion for some parents who have blamed the vaccine for the death of their children. But no one has sponsored the study yet.