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Salvana urges open mind on Dengvaxia amid rise in dengue cases

The public should to keep an open mind as regards the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia which may help curb the rising number of cases in the country, an infectious disease expert said on Thursday.

Dr. Edsel Salvana made the remark in light of the calls for the government to review the possible benefits brought by Dengvaxia, three years after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked its Certificate of Product Registration.

“We really should use everything that is in our toolbox," Salvaña said at a Laging Handa briefing, adding that the anti-dengue vaccine continued to be used in the United States and in Europe.

Salvana said the Philippines was the only country which took away Dengvaxia's certificate of product registration.

"So, I don’t see that as an issue except ‘yung PR nightmare na mangyayari doon,” Salvana said.

(I don’t see using an issue except the public relations nightmare that might arise.)

The Dengvaxia controversy arose in November 2017 when manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur announced that the vaccine may lead to “severe” symptoms for those who have never been infected by dengue prior to vaccination.

The DOH reported on Monday that the country recorded 64,797 dengue cases from January 1 to June 25, a 90% increase compared to the cases reported during the same period last year.

At least 274 people have also died in the country this year due to dengue, posing a 0.4% case fatality rate.

DOH also reported that 15 out of the country’s 17 regions have already surpassed the alert and epidemic threshold for dengue for the past four weeks or on May 29 to June 25, 2022.

Aside from Dengvaxia, Salvana said that another dengue vaccine by drug maker Takeda has concluded its phase three trial against dengue.

“The bottom line is, we should look at all these tools… These are all options and alam naman natin na malaki talaga ang pinsala ng dengue sa ating bansa [dengue has greatly affected our country] and so we should keep an open mind all the time,” he said.

Former Health Secretary and now Iloilo Representative Janette Garin on Wednesday said patients and doctors should be allowed to procure Dengvaxia vaccine and the government should also reconsider its decision to revoke Dengvaxia's CPR.

Meanwhile, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday said the agency is open to again studying the possible evidence presented by dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in protecting the people against the virus. —NB, GMA News