Taiwanese vaccine firm ready to market alternative to Dengvaxia by 2022
HSINCHU, Taiwan — A Taiwanese vaccine manufacturer is aiming to market by 2022 a dengue vaccine that it says would not pose the same risks as the world’s only currently available vaccine Dengvaxia.
The development of the dengue vaccine is one of the thrusts currently being pursued by the Taiwanese government under its New Southbound Policy, an economic tack that targets the Philippines and other Indo-Pacific countries.
“Our vaccine is better than Dengvaxia, a lot better,” John Deng, vice-president of Medigen Vaccines Biologics Corporation, told a group of Indo-Pacific journalists who were invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to visit Taiwan.
“We will not have the same adverse effect as Dengvaxia,” he said during a presentation at the MVC headquarters in Hsinchu City.
Dengvaxia was administered to 830,000 Filipino school children in a mass vaccination program by the Philippine government from April 2016 to December 2017.
The program was stopped days after French manufacturer Sanofi-Pasteur disclosed new findings that Dengvaxia could increase the risk of severe dengue in recipients who were never exposed to the mosquito-borne disease prior to immunization.
Deng said the TV003 vaccine developed by MVC together with the United States National Institutes of Health will be more effective than Dengvaxia because it would use a different genetic backbone structure.
Dengvaxia uses a yellow fever virus vaccine as its genetic backbone, while TV003 uses a dengue virus backbone, he said.
“Their [Sanofi-Pasteur’s] vaccines have some limitations, so it caused some unwanted results. Whatever they cannot achieve, this [NIH/MVC] vaccine can achieve because of the composition of the backbone structure,” he explained.
TV003 is currently in phase 3 clinical trials, which means that it is in the last stage of research before it could be ready for the market.
MVC is currently looking for regional suppliers and manufacturers that could help produce and distribute the cheaper, single-dose vaccine.
Chih-Hwa Wallace Lin, chief administrative officer of the government think tank Biomedical Development Board of Taiwan, affirmed that exporting medicinal breakthroughs is a thrust of the New Southbound Policy.
“We have some specialties for tropical medicines, so I think we can work together for that,” Lin said. /ee
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