In February 2023 Takeda UK Ltd. announced that the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had granted marketing authorisation for Qdenga for immunisation against infection in individuals over the age of 4. In August 2022 we reported that the vaccine had been approved in Indonesia and was the first of Takeda’s vaccines to be marketed beyond Japan. At the time the company stated its intention to make the vaccine globally available.
Dengue is the fastest spreading mosquito-borne virus and was recognised as a top ten global health threat by WHO in 2019. It is endemic in more than 125 countries, causing an estimated 390 million infections each year.
Dengue infects people through the bites of infected mosquitoes, generally found in “urban and semi-urban areas” in “tropical and sub-tropical climates”. Infection with one of the four viral serotypes can offer immunity against that serotype, but infection with a different serotype can cause “serious disease”. Children are the most affected in areas with high transmission, whereas adults are most affected in areas with lower transmission.
For UK travellers, dengue is “second only to Malaria as a diagnosed cause of fever among travellers” returning home. Dr George Kassianos, an immunisation specialist, suggests that “more than 800 UK holidaymakers had their trips ruined by dengue” before the pandemic.
“Dengue symptoms usually last for up to seven days, so the impact for those who contract the infection while travelling abroad can be substantial. With this in mind, a pre-travel vaccination that provides an additional precautionary option to most travellers, in addition to following effective mosquito bite prevention, should be welcomed.”
Qdenga is a tetravalent, live, attenuated vaccine that is the “only approved vaccine in the UK” for preventing dengue fever “regardless of previous dengue exposure”. The MHRA decision follows results from an ongoing Phase III double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial.
Simon Meadowcroft, Takeda’s Medical Director, is “pleased” at the approval.
“This is an exciting step in Takeda’s mission to apply world-class expertise to develop and bring to market innovative vaccines for infectious diseases that address important unmet global public health needs.”
For more from Takeda on Dengue vaccines, join us at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington this April.