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Monday, December 9, 2013
First time award made from Germany to Dengue Vaccine Initiative
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - The Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) announced today that it has received a 1 million Euro award from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the first time it has received such a grant from Germany. The funds will be used to support the development of new dengue vaccines in collaboration with the Instituto Butantan, a biomedical research center in São Paulo, Brazil, and Vabiotech, a vaccine manufacturer in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease now endemic in more than 120 countries, and a significant cause of hospitalization and death among children in developing countries. There has been a 30-fold increase in reported cases of dengue over the past 50 years, and the latest figures estimate 96 million symptomatic cases around the world each year.
While there is no dengue vaccine currently available, progress towards one has accelerated in recent years, and a range of dengue vaccine candidates are currently in clinical phases. The award from BMBF will support the development of dengue vaccines by local manufacturers in Brazil and Vietnam, two countries greatly impacted by dengue. DVI scientists and external experts will work with the Instituto Butantan and Vabiotech. The dengue vaccines being developed at the Instituto Butantan and VaBiotech is a live attenuated tetravalent vaccine (LATV) candidate that was licensed from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The vaccines consist of four modified strains of the dengue virus. First clinical studies in the U.S. have shown that the NIH vaccine candidate is safe and immunogenic.
“DVI is very pleased to receive support from the BMBF in our aim to encourage the development of new vaccines against dengue,” said Dr. Georges Thiry, Acting Director for DVI. “Working with these manufacturers will help ensure the availability and supply of more dengue vaccines on the market, which will help increase access and affordability of dengue vaccines for the poor.”
"With the 1 million EUR grant to DVI, Germany is expanding its support for research for neglected and poverty-related diseases", says Helge Braun, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. "At the same time, our support for vaccine development is reinforced. Effective vaccines and immunization strategies are vital to fight threatening infectious diseases sustainably."
DVI, a consortium of the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins University’s International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), was launched in February 2011. Also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the BMBF award represents the first grant awarded to DVI by Germany.
“The partnerships with Vabiotech and the Instituto Butantan will help to strengthen research and development capacity in these developing countries,” said Dr. Anna Durbin, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and DVI Dengue Technical Expert. “The production of safe vaccines in developing countries by local vaccine manufacturers is an important part of ensuring widespread access to a dengue vaccine.”
The Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) was established in 2011, building on the work of the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative. Its objectives are to support the development of new vaccines against dengue, and their future use, especially in the poor countries. For more information, visit http://www.denguevaccines.org/
The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) promotes education and research nationally and internationally. In recent years, BMBF has strengthened its international cooperation. In 2011, BMBF launched its funding program for Product Development Partnerships (PDPs), the implementation of which is supported by KfW Development Bank. With the funding announcement for the Dengue Vaccine Initiative the program has been extended. For more information, visit http://www.bmbf.de/en