Havana, Aug 17 (IANS): Cuba is testing a vaccine against dengue fever on animals. The test is considered one of the most advanced projects of its kind, a Cuban scientist said.
The vaccine is composed of a protein that works by inducing cells to generate neutralising antibodies, Alienys Izquierdo Oliva, a member of the National Dengue Vaccine Project, told Xinhua.
"If we have neutralising antibodies, then we will have protection," said Izquierdo.
The expert was taking part in the ongoing 13th International Course on Dengue and its Control at Havana's Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine.
The vaccine is currently undergoing pre-clinical studies on mice and monkeys, marking the last stage of test trials on animals before clinical trials can begin on humans, the scientist said.
"So far, the vaccine has proven to be effective in controlling the replication of the virus in these animals, demonstrating the potential to protect against the disease," he said.
Izquierdo said the advantage of the vaccine being developed in Cuba is that unlike other vaccines, it does not carry the risk of exposing the inoculated person to a second infection from another strain.
Other vaccines carry the risk of exposing the inoculated person to a second infection from another strain, which could be even more severe form of the disease, the expert said.
"That is the main problem with the other vaccines being developed currently around the world, though they are in the most advanced stage of clinical trials."
However, Izquierdo said there was still some way to go before Cuba can introduce an effective vaccine against dengue to the world.