2 pharma firms join bidding war for anti-dengue vaccines

TWO MORE pharmaceutical companies are bidding to supply the Deparment of Health with anti-dengue vaccines for the next six years.

DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial, in an interview, said the agency is hoping for the best price from the winner of the bid for the government’s anti-vaccine program.

“It is under development and for availability in the market, the two new dengue vaccines,” she said. “Only one is available, but the two new dengue vaccines are under development. Hopefully, with competition, they are already three and the price would go down.”

At the moment, the DOH is still testing its anti-dengue vaccines.

“We are assessing the situation on how we can scale up,” Ubial said. “We will wait for the pilot to end, and we will look at all the data including the side effects, including the acceptance of the community, and make a decision.” she said.

Dengue cases would be considerably lower this year, Ubial said, as the epidemiology of the disease involves a “cycle” of three years.

Last year was the high year for the three year cycle, with cases expectedly lower in the next two years, she said.  In January to May, for example, there was a 31.8% reduction in cases.

Cases were also lower in both Davao City and Davao Region. There were 3,656 dengue cases in the region last year, DOH XI regional director Abdullah Dumama Jr. said, and this has been reduced to around half to date.

In Davao City, there were around 1,327 cases in 2016; now, there are only around 809.

“Dengue is cyclical,” Ubial said. “The epidemic year is every three years.”

Hopefully, she said in three years, the DOH would have already discovered other ways to fight dengue, including vaccination.

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