Silent killer Environmental Health Officer Mohd Ismail Shaswadi displaying the ‘Aedes aegypti’ mosquito to raise awareness of the dangers of dengue during a community health programme at SJKT Kuala Kubu Baru. — Bernama
KUALA KUBU BARU: The Health Ministry is looking at a higher overall protection rate against all four dengue serotypes before deciding on a proposed vaccine for the disease.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the vaccine, produced by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, only gave an overall protection rate of 56%.
“However, if the overall protection rate is in the range of 80%, then it gives us more confidence on its use.
“The protection against DEN-2 is only 35% and that is not significant enough.
“This is among the few reasons why we need to further study it before deciding,” Subramaniam said after launching the 1Malaysia Indian community health programme here yesterday.
The vaccine, in its trials, showed 75% protection against DEN-3 and DEN-4, and 50% for DEN-1 serotype of the dengue virus.
Universiti Malaya research consultant Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Lam Sai Kit had been reported saying that a vaccine against the dengue virus needed to be effective against all four serotypes simultaneously or else a vaccinated person would be prone to severe complications, should he be infected with a serotype he was not protected against.
Subramaniam said the study on the vaccine would look at two areas – decreasing the number of people being hospitalised and preventing the cases of haemorrhagic fever with potentially life-threatening complication.
It was reported last Friday that the vaccine, during its trial in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, had shown increased effectiveness.
The vaccine, touted as the world’s first, is said to be able to boost a person’s pre-existing immunity rather than protective immunity.
Subramaniam also said local councils needed to step up their efforts and help reduce the number of mosquito breeding grounds.
“MOH does not go and clear rubbish, that is the work of the local authorities.
“In Petaling district, Selangor, which has the highest number of dengue cases, there have been complaints of rubbish not being collected, increasing the number of breeding sites,” he said.
A total of 87 people have died from dengue since January this year.
So far, 46,681 cases of dengue fever have been recorded between January and now, compared to 13,483 during the same period last year.