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Soon: Vaccine from France to help fight dengue in PH

MANILA, Philippines – Dengue remains one of the most pressing health problems in the Philippines, but a vaccine being developed in France could soon help in fighting the disease.

After the bilateral meeting of President Benigno Aquino III and French President Francois Hollande on Thursday, February 26, Aquino revealed that health is another area of cooperation for the Philippines and France aside from climate change.

"As we all know, [here in] the Philippines, we are a victim to all 4 types of dengue. There is a vaccine being developed by a French company called Sanofi Pasteur, which is already in clinical trials, which probably very soon will help us eliminate, if not minimize, this health issue within our country," Aquino said in the two leaders' joint press briefing.

The CYD-TDV vaccine, which was tested in the Philippines and 4 other Asian countries, showed promising overall efficacy and will be available in the health department’s vaccine program by July 2015. (READ: Test vaccine for dengue seen as promising)

The vaccine produced lukewarm results a few years ago, but after wider trials has shown 56.5% protection against dengue.

Dengue, a disease common in tropical and sub-tropical countries in the world, is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes mosquito. Dengue fever is potentially fatal and mainly affects children.

Philippines is among countries in the Western Pacific with the highest incidence of dengue in recent years. 

Hollande’s two-day state visit to the Philippines aims to build momentum for the international climate change negotiations France will host in December.

Both countries on Thursday called on the international community to "conclude a universal, equitable, and ambitious climate deal." (READ: Filipino, French presidents make joint call for climate action and FULL TEXT: Manila Call to Action on Climate Change)

France also offered the Philippines a 50-million euro ($56.6 million or P2.5 billion) loan through the French Development Agency to prevent future disasters due to climate change. – Jee Y. Geronimo/Rappler.com