AIIMS symposium to deliberate upon dengue vaccine in India
A symposium by AIIMS in collaboration with France will deliberate upon launching clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of dengue vaccine in India. The two-day symposium ‘AIIMS-FAM Dengue, Zika and Chikunganya’, which began here today, is being held in collaboration with The Fondation de l’Académie de Médecine (FAM-Medical Academy Foundation) of France. “The conference will also focus on areas like virology, epidemiology and expansion of diseases, scientific advance on diagnosis and care and prevention and control of diseases,” AIIMS Director, Randeep Guleria said.
Experts from Philippines and Brazil, countries where the vaccine has been launched, will participate in the symposium to share their success stories. “The symposium is being held at an appropriate time, especially when the risk of dengue and chikungunya is round the corner with the monsoon coming up. Therefore, we not only need to be prepared, but also see how we can move forward in areas of research, prevention and management of these diseases,” Gularia said. He said India goes through the same cycle of dengue outbreak every year even as there is a surge in such cases.
“And then we forget about it once the monsoon is over,” he lamented. The AIIMS director stressed on the need for developing preventive strategy like identifying and treating high-risk individuals. “We have put in place a system so that these patients are admitted and treated without delay. Dengue has a very low mortality if it is diagnosed early. The disease is often reported late, leading to high mortality,” Guleria said.
The symposium will also see experts discuss the mosquito-borne Zika virus, transmitted by the bite of Aedes mosquito, which also causes dengue. “Zika is being reported in south-east Asia, and also in Thailand and Singapore. We have a lot of people going to these countries as tourists as well as for business. “We do not want to miss out on those who get infected and come back during the incubation period when the symptoms (of such diseases) are mild. They come back into the community and spread the vector-borne disease. So, the government is keen on having a programme for monitoring of Zika,” the official said.
Many Indian states have been battling the outbreak of dengue and Chikungunya since the past decade, with over 40,000 such cases reported last year. As many as 4,431 cases of dengue were reported in Delhi alone in 2016. Meanwhile, Sanofi Pasteur and Panacea Biotech have approached the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation for grant of marketing permission to conduct the clinical trials of dengue vaccine in India.