January 27, 2014
Ciro de Quadros – The Guardian, 1/27/2014
Dengue fever is now endemic in more that 125 countries. Six vaccines are currently in clinical development and policymakers and global health leaders need to be ready for when they come on the market.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called dengue fever the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease with “epidemic potential” and “staggering” consequences. In the past 50 years, the number of reported cases has increased 30-fold. While the WHO estimates that 50-100m dengue infections occur each year, a new Nature study calculated that nearly 400m infections occurred in 2010 – four times as many as the official estimates.
Transmitted by mosquitoes, dengue is a painful illness that causes severe headache, muscle and joint pain, vomiting and skin rash. In some cases, it can lead to circulatory failure, shock, coma and death. But dengue’s impact goes beyond health. Recent studies on the impact of dengue put the economic cost at approximately $2.1bn per year in the Americas and more than $950m per year in Southeast Asia. Despite these high figures, the true economic impact could be much worse when accounting for under-reported and misdiagnosed infections.
February 26, 2013
Health authorities in Brazil say there has been a steep rise in the confirmed cases of dengue fever this year.
More than 200,000 people were infected in the first seven weeks of 2013 compared to 70,000 in the same period last year, official figures suggest.
The southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul has been hardest hit.
November 2, 2012
Vincent Bevins – Los Angeles Times, 11/01/2012
Under normal circumstances, Cicera Maria da Silva would be less than excited about a researcher intentionally releasing thousands of mosquitoes just outside her husband’s corner grocery store.
Mosquitoes here are not just a ubiquitous annoyance; they spread deadly diseases, including dengue fever, which struck Da Silva’s mother a year ago.
But that’s why she’s OK with the truck that passes through this poor corner of Brazil a few times a week and pours so many of the winged creatures into the hot streets. These genetically engineered members of the species Aedes aegyptihave been created in a lab, and are aimed at wiping out their brethren.
July 9, 2012
EFE/Fox News Latino, 07/08/2012
Brasilia – The goal sounds easier than it is: Breed genetically modified mosquitoes that would actually cut down mosquito populations.
Brazilian authorities inaugurated Saturday a breeder for a genetically modified type of aedes aegypti mosquito in hopes of finding a more effective way to combat dengue, of which 431,194 cases have been registered this year nationwide.
The so-called “mosquito factory” was built at a cost of 1.7 million reais ($850,000) and financed by the government of Bahia state with the help of the Health Ministry.
April 12, 2012
Helen Mendes – SciDev.net/Nature, 04/11/2012
Engineered males might mean fewer female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to spread Dengue fever.
Scientists in Brazil say an experiment to reduce populations of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, by releasing millions of genetically modified (GM) insects into the wild, is working.
More than ten million modified male mosquitoes were released in the city of Juazeiro, a city of 288,000 people, over a period of time starting a year ago.
The results were released at a workshop in Rio last week (28–29 March), where the project’s co-ordinator, Aldo Malavasi, said they were “very positive”.
February 2, 2012
Fabiana Frayssinet – IPS, 02/01/2012
Racing for Peace in the Rocinha favela, one of the many creative activities organised under the campaign against dengue fever. Credit:Rio de Janeiro Health Secretariat
The government of the state of Rio de Janeiro is unveiling a battery of creative tactics to engage the population in the battle against dengue fever, which is threatening to reach unprecedented epidemic proportions as a new virus strain hits Brazil.
School is out for the austral summer and the options in Rio’s Complexo do Alemão favela (shantytown) are either “hanging out in the street” or gearing up to combat dengue, says Miguel Terto, a 14-year- old aspiring firefighter.
“It gives us something different to do, but it also encourages us to save lives,” the teenager told IPS. Terto lives in one of the 20 favelas of the city of Rio de Janeiro – the capital of the state – that underwent a pacification process last year.
October 28, 2011
The results of research into the prevention and treatment of endemic diseases like malaria and dengue fever in Brazil were the subject of the session on Vaccines and Drugs that started off the third day of discussions in the symposium FAPESP Week, which ends today in Washington, DC.
Jorge Kalil, Director of the Butantan Institute, spoke about the studies currently underway to advance new immunization technologies. In his presentation entitled, “Research and Production of Immunobiologicals,” Kalil highlighted cooperative projects with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the study of rotavirus, which causes the acute gastroenteritis responsible for the high global death rate among children under age 2, and on the dengue virus. Other projects are being carried out with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (finding an adjuvant for the treatment of ovarian cancer) and the Sabin Vaccine Institute in collaboration with the George Washington University (on the schistosome, the parasite that causes schistosomiasis).
According to Kalil, the Butantan Institute is also very involved in increasing the production and improvement of techniques for hepatitis B immunization, produced for over 10 years at the institution.
September 29, 2009
Jeanne Whalen-Wall Street Journal, 09/28/09
In an effort to crack the lucrative Brazilian market, GlaxoSmithKline PLC has agreed to give Brazil some of its vaccine technology and also to fund research into a vaccine for dengue fever, a disease that hits Brazil particularly hard.
The agreement is a sign of the growing clout emerging markets have in negotiating deals with the drug industry. Glaxo and other companies are hoping that countries such as Brazil will provide much of their sales growth in the future as sales in more developed markets slow.