Malacañang open to considering return of Dengvaxia amid spike in dengue cases
Marje Pelayo • August 1, 2019 • 1008
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it is open to considering the return of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine to address the rising number of dengue cases in the country.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We’re not closed to any suggestion,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo made the statement in response to former Health Secretary now Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin’s claim that the recent dengue outbreak could have been prevented if the Dengvaxia vaccination hadn’t been discontinued.
Panelo clarified, however, that though Malacañang is open to the idea, there has to be a thorough and extensive discussion with experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia.
“Ang mga experts, hindi nagkakasundo diyan. May nagsasabing pwede, may nagsasabing hindi pwede, (Experts cannot agree. Some say [Dengavxia] is good, others say it’s not),” Panelo said.
“So we need to thoroughly investigate exactly the situation involving the Dengvaxia,” he added.
In November 2017, the government stopped the implementation of Dengvaxia vaccine after its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, warned that it might cause severe symptoms if given to individuals who have no prior dengue infection.
It led to the so-called ‘Dengvaxia scare’ where a number of children died after allegedly receiving Dengvaxia shots. The cases however, remain under investigation.
“If the weight of findings show that there is benefit using Dengvaxia against dengue, then certainly the government should consider it,” Panelo concluded.
Based on the latest record of the Department of Health (DOH), dengue cases in the country have already spiked to 130,463 from January 1 to July 13 this year, double in number as compared to the same period last year which is only 67,690 cases.
The number of deaths this year is at 561, almost double from last year with only 367 deaths.
The national dengue alert remains in effect as more areas declare dengue epidemic including Western Visayas, CALABARZON, SOCKSARGEN, Northern Mindanao, Central Visayas and the National Capital Region (NCR).
According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, dengue this year is considered a global health issue because of the observed cycle of dengue virus infection which spikes every three years.
“2019 worldwide is really shaping up to be with one those highly burdened years for dengue,” Domingo confirmed.
The DOH is set to convene its regional offices to ensure that concerns regarding dengue are properly addressed and under control.
The Department, as always, reminds the public to maintain cleanliness of surroundings and keep protected especially the children from dengue carrying-mosquitoes. – Aiko Miguel contributed to this report
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said there are no clear expert studies yet on the supposed recorded case in Spain of dengue transmission through sexual intercourse.
Based on a report, a male tested positive of dengue after having sexual intercourse with his partner who has dengue.
The health department said it was an isolated case.
“E kasi ito naman hindi siya the usual, this is very atypical. So, the chances of its spreading via that route are very low,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
Sec. Duque said the DOH is rather concerned over unprotected sex which causes an increase in the number of HIV-AIDS cases in the country.
He added that the alleged transmission of dengue virus through sexual intercourse will remain theoretical or mere speculation.
He underscored that the Philippines has yet to record a similar case of dengue transmission.
The department, he said, is pushing for safe sex and clean living, especially this year when the country is recording an average of 35 individuals who are HIV positive daily.
“I will not be worried that there can be an epidemic of dengue via that route because there already is with mosquitoes. So, I would be worried for lack of protection primarily because we don’t want anymore HIV-AIDS cases as much as possible. So incidental lang iyong isa e to the main issue of unprotected sex. It’s a (very) collateral issue,” Duque said. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) wants to look into research-based technologies to address the dengue problem in the country.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said the department has funded several research projects and programs to aid in addressing the different aspects of the disease.
“Through the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, we have funded a number of research projects and programs consistent with the multi-prong approach in the control of dengue that address different aspects such as diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
One of the researches supported by the DOST is the Biotek M which is a rapid diagnostic test for dengue. This kit can diagnose dengue as early as two to three days after the onset of illness.
They are also looking into a possible herbal medicine for dengue.
“Dengue research and development has always been one of the priority research areas in the country. This is stated in the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda led by the DOST,” said Sec. de la Peña.—AAC
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