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A DRUG giant has achieved breakthroughs in the development of a dengue vaccine which could be ready by the end of next year, according toXinhuanews agency reports citing local media.

Guillaume Leroy, head of dengue vaccine unit of drug giant Sanofi Pasteur, announced the success of a clinical trial in Asia to test the effectiveness of the vaccine at a two-day Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Dengue Summit held in Angeles City, the Philippines over the weekend.

It may be the world’s first dengue vaccine as there has so far been no vaccines for dengue, theStraits Timessaid Monday.

In the trial conducted by Sanofi Pasteur, dengue cases in the group of about 10,000 — including participants from Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia — fell by more than half after the vaccine candidate was administered.

Another trial involving more than 20,000 people is currently under way in Latin America.

“We are at a very critical milestone. By the end of the year, we will have a full analysis of all the results,” Leroy said.

The outcome of these latest trials brings Sanofi Pasteur a step closer to a goal that has been more than 20 years in the making.

The company’s work on a dengue vaccine has been hampered by the fact that dengue has four different strains. All must be effectively subdued before any vaccine can be counted a success, which the company said has managed to do.

More than two thirds of the world’s dengue cases come from Asia, with Southeast Asia a major contributor.

Sanofi Pasteur said it aims to put its vaccine in markets where it is most needed first, including in Southeast Asia.

As soon as its vaccine is approved for use, the company will be able to churn out 100 million doses a year.

Long before the vaccine neared completion, the company had invested in a US$350 million production plant located in France in 2009.

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