Philippines suspends world-first dengue vaccine

Sanofi had initially said its Dengvaxia vaccine was “critical” in the fight against dengue, the world’s most common mosquito-borne virus. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2017
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Philippines suspends world-first dengue vaccine

MANILA: The Philippines said Friday it had suspended use of a landmark vaccine for the potentially deadly dengue virus after its manufacturer warned it could worsen the disease in some cases.
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced Wednesday that its world-first dengue vaccine could lead to more severe symptoms for people who had not previously been infected.
The Philippines has vaccinated more than 700,000 children with Dengvaxia since 2016 when it became the first country to start using it on a mass scale.
But it said Friday the program had been suspended.
“In the light of this new analysis, the DOH (Department of Health) will place the dengue vaccination program on hold while review and consultation is ongoing with experts, key stakeholders, and the WHO (World Health Organization),” a government statement said.
Sanofi had initially said its Dengvaxia vaccine was “critical” in the fight against dengue, the world’s most common mosquito-borne virus.
It said Wednesday that a new study has confirmed Dengvaxia’s benefits for “those who had prior infection.”
“For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” Sanofi said.
The Philippine government stressed it had not yet received reports of any problems with Dengvaxia.
“Currently, there is no reported case of severe dengue infection among those who received the vaccine,” its statement said.
More than 1,000 people in the Philippines died from dengue last year, out of 211,000 suspected cases, according to the government.


US won’t send officials to China’s Belt and Road forum

Updated 3 min 23 sec ago
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US won’t send officials to China’s Belt and Road forum

BEIJING: Washington will not send officials to a Beijing summit on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure project, the US embassy said Wednesday amid a raft of disputes between the two powers.
Leaders from 37 countries and officials from dozens more are expected to attend the Belt and Road Forum from Thursday to Saturday, but Washington has dismissed the initiative as a “vanity project.”
“The United States has no plans to send officials from Washington to the Belt and Road Forum,” a US embassy spokesperson told AFP in an email.
“We call upon all countries to ensure that their economic diplomacy initiatives adhere to internationally-accepted norms and standards, promote sustainable, inclusive development, and advance good governance and strong economic institutions,” the spokesperson said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists at a briefing last week that American diplomats, state government representatives and members of the business community will be attending the forum.
At the first Belt and Road summit in 2017, the US was represented by White House adviser Matt Pottinger.
Since then, more countries have signed up to Belt and Road, most notably Italy, which became the first G7 nation to join the global scheme that aims to link Asia to Europe and Africa through massive investments in maritime, road and rail projects.