HCM CITY — The HCM City Pasteur Institute will carry out the final phase of clinical tests on a vaccine against dengue fever next month.
If these are successfully concluded, the vaccine will be widely circulated throughout the country in about three years' time.
The Sanofi Pasteur Group, the institute's research partner, carried out research on the vaccine 20 years ago. Research was also done in Singapore, Thailand, Australia and many other countries, said head of the institute Tran Ngoc Huu.
The first and second phases of Vietnamese clinical tests were carried out from 2008 on 6,200 people aged from one to 45. This indicated the vaccine was safe for humans, said Huu.
He said the vaccine could stimulate humans to generate antibodies against four types of dengue-fever virus.
"The vaccine has not yet been released in any country as it awaits final testing," said Huu.
The vaccine can cause side-effects, such as swelling, headaches, high temperatures and tiredness, but they are mild and people will quickly recover.
"Serious side-effects, including allergic reactions, difficult breathing and low blood pressure, rarely happen," he added.
The third phase of clinical tests in Viet Nam will involve 1,402 children in An Giang province's Long Xuyen District and 934 children in Tien Giang Province's My Tho City, all in the south.
"We chose children in the two provinces so that we can keep close watch on them and assess the vaccine's effect three or four years later," said Huu.
Children participating will be injected three times at six-month intervals. The first injections will be given on September 16 in An Giang Province and on September 20 in Tien Giang Province. The third injection will be given in September next year.
"After being tested successfully, the vaccine can be used widely in the country in 2014-15," he said.
The vaccine was mean for treating children who are one year old, he added.
At present the institute has not determined the cost of the vaccine to the public.
"Dengue fever causes a high number of deaths in Viet Nam every year, thus the vaccine plays an important role in reducing them," said Huu.
Deputy Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan said that in the first eight months of this year, about 30,000 people suffered from dengue fever in Viet Nam.
The disease occurs throughout the year in central and southern provinces. In the high-peak period, about 10,000 people in the provinces suffer from the disease each month. — VNS