Four-way finding could see Dengue damned
A major research breakthrough featuring Australian scientists could be the key to fighting dengue fever.
A new class of antibodies that can make the four different types of dengue virus (DENV) non-infectious has been discovered by a group of international researchers.
The discovery could lead to the development of better vaccines and laboratory tests.
The study provided the first reported incidence of an antibody that can neutralise all four types of the dengue virus when it is produced from human or mosquito cells.
Co-author Professor Cameron Simmons from the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity said the exciting findings could pave the way for the development of vaccines that target all four strains of the dengue virus, something not currently available.
“There is an urgent need to reduce incidence of people suffering dengue, and understand the human immune response to infection and the response following vaccination. “
This unique discovery makes the future development of vaccines that could prevent the spread of the disease a realistic goal and may also pave the way for a universal DENV vaccine,” he said.
Researchers analysed a large group of anti-dengue antibodies from human patients who were infected with the virus.
They found a new class of antibodies that are highly effective at neutralising the virus, which bind to a newly discovered ‘epitope’ - a unique structure that antibodies can recognise and bind to, which is present in all forms of the disease.
The geographical spread of the disease continues to widen, threatening the Southern United States and Australia while there is also concern of possible spread to Southern Europe.
Infection with one form of the virus leads to life-long protection against that specific form but not against others.
In addition, antibody recognition of virus particles is complicated by dramatic changes in the shell of the virus during its lifecycle.
The study was led by researchers at Imperial College London, and featured experts from the University of Melbourne.