Research funded by the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) involving an economic analysis of producing a tetravalent dengue vaccine shows that the cost could be as low as $0.20 per dose with an annual production level of 60 million doses packaged in ten-dose vials. The study used data on a vaccine developed by US NIH and the facilities of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
These findings, published in the July 6, 2012 edition of Vaccine, should provide confidence to ministries of health that they can aggressively plan for the inclusion of dengue vaccine in their immunization programs, as the vaccine should be available at a cost that even middle-income and developing countries can afford.
"The cost of a vaccine is one of the most important factors affecting its adoption and uptake," says Richard Mahoney of the DVI and one of the report's authors. "Our goal with this study was to determine the baseline expenses for the vaccine's production. We believe the results should help pave the way for the rapid introduction and distribution of a dengue vaccine once licensed."
The report notes that the cost of production is only one component determining the price of a vaccine, and does not take into account costs for prior research and development, obtaining regulatory approval, marketing and distribution, start-up expenses and other factors. The price of a dengue vaccine is likely to be much higher initially when demand may be low.
"With dengue vaccines, we have a unique opportunity to get ahead of the disease rather than being forced to react and play catch-up," says Dr. Ciro A. de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. "We know that a vaccine is coming as early as 2015, and countries should be encouraged by this new data as they lay the foundations for its adoption."
Dengue fever is endemic in more than 100 countries and is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease. It is estimated that as many as three billion people – two-fifths of the world's population – are at risk of dengue infection. The Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) is a consortium of organizations working to lay the groundwork for dengue vaccine introduction so that once licensed, vaccines to prevent dengue will be swiftly introduced by countries most in need.