Singapore this week became the latest country to make the world’s first dengue drug - Dengvaxia - available to the public, after a 7 month long investigation into the strengths, weaknesses and side effects of the vaccine.
Dengue is a viral condition which is spread by mosquitos and is common in countries near the equator. In the majority of cases the symptoms are fairly mild and not dissimilar to a fever (headache, nausea, joint pain etc) however in certain situations it can become far more serious and even life threatening.
According to the in-depth studies carried out by the Singaporean Health Authorities the vaccine can reduce Dengue related illnesses by 60% - rising to over 80% in more serious cases. It is, however, slightly less effective in treating the 2 most common strains of the infection in Singapore.
After testing the vaccine on more than 45,000 patients, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in the country recommended that it is only made available to those between the ages of 12 and 45 as it loses its effectiveness in those older than that age.
The HSA also concluded that the vaccination was most effective in people who had already suffered from the condition earlier in their life - with it being almost 50% more effective in those people than in the cases of individuals who had yet to contract the issue.
As a result of these findings the HSA recommended that people who have not previously had the illness consult their doctor on whether or not it’s worth getting the vaccine.
Dengvaxia will be commercially available in Singapore by the end of the year, and represents a further way in which the country is investing generously in the health of the nation.
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