A local biotech company is working to develop an effective dengue vaccine to protect military personnel.
Hawaii Biotech announced Thursday that it was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract by the U.S. Army.
“The vaccine that is closest to approval is best used on individuals in the third word who have already been exposed to dengue, so we’re trying to find a vaccine, develop a vaccine that can be used in people who have never have been exposed to dengue before,” said Hawaii Biotech CEO Elliot Parks.
The company says current leading dengue vaccine candidates in clinical trails offer only partial protection and long immunization periods, but international travelers and military personnel being deployed to tropical or subtropical regions require more immediate and complete immunity.
“The growing outbreak of dengue fever in Hawaii highlights the need for stronger containment efforts now, and a commitment to preventing additional outbreaks in the future. This vaccine has the potential to seriously improve the response to dengue fever both in Hawaii, and around the world,” said U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D, Hawaii.