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Single-Dose Dengue Vaccine from Brazil Shows 79.6% Efficacy in Global Study

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A groundbreaking development in dengue prevention has emerged from Brazil, as a single-dose vaccine produced by the Butantan Institute in São Paulo demonstrates remarkable efficacy. According to a study published in *The New England Journal of Medicine*, the Butantan-DV vaccine offers 79.6% protection against the dengue virus, covering all four serotypes. This vaccine is not only effective across a wide age range of 2 to 59 years but also benefits those with or without prior dengue exposure. 

The vaccine’s success is a testament to the extensive research and testing conducted across Brazil, involving 16 centers in all five regions, under the coordination of the Butantan Institute. The Phase 3 trial, which began in February 2016 with over 16,000 participants, has provided a wealth of data on the vaccine’s efficacy and safety. For example, efficacy rates were notably high across different age groups: 80.1% in children aged 2-6, 77.8% for ages 7-17, and an impressive 90.0% for the 18-59 age bracket. Moreover, the vaccine showed robust protection rates of 73.6% for individuals without prior dengue exposure and 89.2% for those previously infected. 

The Butantan-DV’s single-dose formula not only simplifies vaccination logistics but also promises rapid protection, which could be crucial during outbreaks or for travelers to endemic regions. This innovation represents a significant leap forward from existing dengue vaccines, such as Dengvaxia and Qdenga, which require multiple doses and have more limited age and serological status indications. 

Butantan Institute’s achievement is part of a broader initiative to combat dengue in Brazil, where the disease is hyperendemic. In 2023, Brazil reported 1.6 million probable dengue cases in the first 11 months alone, underscoring the urgent need for effective prevention strategies. The vaccine’s introduction could markedly reduce dengue-related mortality and hospitalizations, offering a cost-effective solution to a pervasive public health challenge. 

Moreover, the development and trial of the Butantan-DV vaccine have bolstered Brazil’s vaccine research infrastructure, an invaluable asset that was also leveraged during the COVID-19 pandemic for the clinical trials of CoronaVac. This network of research and development capacity is a testament to Brazil’s commitment to addressing public health emergencies and stands as a model for rapid response to future challenges. 

As the Butantan Institute prepares to submit its findings to ANVISA, Brazil’s health surveillance agency, for vaccine registration, the global health community watches closely. The potential approval and subsequent production of the Butantan-DV vaccine in 2025 could herald a new era in dengue prevention, offering hope to millions vulnerable to this debilitating disease. 

Journal Reference – Kallás, E. G., Cintra, M. A. T., Moreira, J. A., Patiño, E. G., Braga, P. E., Tenório, J. C. V., … Nogueira, M. L. (2024). New England Journal of Medicine, 390(5), 397–408. doi:10.1056/nejmoa2301790 

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