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Brazil closer to French-made dengue vaccine approval

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian National Biosafety Technical Commission (CTNBio) approved on Thursday the commercial release of a vaccine against dengue fever.

The CTNBio approval is a step forward, but the vaccine still needs to be approved by other bodies, including Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

During clinical trials, the vaccine reduced 60.8 percent of dengue fever cases in a group of 21,000 people in Latin America and 56 percent in a group of 10,000 volunteers in Asia.

Dengue fever, a potentially lethal endemic disease that affects many tropical countries, is a significant problem in Brazil, and the year of 2015 is shaping up to be a particularly bad year.

From January to August, 1.4 million cases of dengue were registered in the country, and the number of Dengue-caused deaths reached a record-high of 693 people in the same period.

The vaccine is made by the French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur but there are other labs attempting to make their own vaccine, including two local institutions: the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, one of the leading public health research facilities in the world, and the Butantan Institute, responsible for most vaccines used in Brazil and a leader in the study of poisonous animals.

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