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Dengue vaccine on the cards: Health Minister Azad

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Lok Sabha that a dengue vaccine is on the cards. This is welcome relief for a disease which strikes every season and affects thousands across the country. According to Azad, the clinical trials are at an advanced stage in several countries, including India and hoped that they would pass. 'The phase III of the trial is underway in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Latin American countries....In India the trials are taking place in places like Ludhiana, Kolkata and Delhi. If it passes, the day is not far when we will get it,' he said.

Azad was responding to a call attention on the spread of dengue and the steps taken by the government in this regard, with members asking the government to take foreign help or even FDI to meet the 'serious' situation. He hoped that the success of these trials by the French company, Sanofi Pasteur, come sooner than later so that deaths taking place due to dengue can be contained.

The Minister said the spread of dengue infection has 'shown an increase in recent years due to various man-made and environmental factors leading to proliferation of Aedes mosquito breeding sites, both in urban and rural areas.' Observing that the dimension of the problem could be gauged by the number of cases reported and deaths, he said up to November 15 this year, 35,066 cases, including 216 deaths, have been reported. However, the case fatality rate has remained low at 0.6 per cent.

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