Every year, the World Health Organisation estimates between 50 and 100 million people are infected with the virus, and the most vulnerable are children and adolescents.
Scientists have been searching for a vaccine for the last 90 years.
But now a drug developed by a French company has shown encouraging results, protecting against three of the four types of dengue virus in Thai children.
Cameron Simmons, a professor working in Oxford University's clinical research unit in Vietnam, says the results are hugely encouraging.
"It's regarded as a neglected tropical disease. The sheer scale of the disease burden in dengue endemic countries is enormous," he told PM.
"It's a major public health problem, places enormous strain on often fragile healthcare systems."
The major clinical trial of the drug involved 4,000 primary school aged children in Thailand.
"We were optimistic and hopeful that we would see protection against all four dengue viruses," Professor Simmons said.