A Vaccine For Dengue, Just Approved By The FDA, Has A Dark History : NPR
“When I read the New England Journal article, I almost fell out of my chair,” says Dr. Scott Halstead, who has studied dengue for more than 50 years with the U.S. military. When Halstead looked at the vaccine’s safety data in the clinical trial, he knew right away there was a problem.
For some children, the vaccine didn’t seem to work. In fact, Halstead says, it appeared to be harmful. When those kids caught dengue after being vaccinated, the vaccine appeared to worsen the disease in some instances. Specifically, for children who had never been exposed to dengue, the vaccine seemed to increase the risk of a deadly complication called plasma leakage syndrome, in which blood vessels start to leak the yellow fluid of the blood.
“Then everything gets worse, and maybe it’s impossible to save your life,” Halstead says. “A child can go into shock.”
“The trouble is that the disease occurs very rapidly, just in a matter of a few hours,” he adds. “And there’s nothing on the outside of the body to signify the person is leaking fluid on the inside.”