Study Could Lead to Vaccine for Mosquito-borne Dengue Virus
Nashville, TN - Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the National University of Singapore have determined the structure of a human monoclonal antibody which, in an animal model, strongly neutralizes a type of the potentially lethal dengue virus.
The finding, reported in the journal Science, could lead to the first effective therapies and vaccines against dengue, a complex of four distinct but related mosquito-borne viruses that infect about 390 million people a year and which are a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics.
“Scientists in the antibody discovery group of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center continue to make great strides in developing novel antiviral drugs, such as this human antibody that not only kills dengue virus but also prevents enhanced dengue disease,” said co-corresponding author and center director James Crowe Jr., M.D., Ann Scott Carell Professor and professor of Pediatrics and of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.
The four “serotypes” of dengue are distinguished by different antigens, or proteins on the viral envelope that elicit immune responses. What makes dengue so challenging, and so dangerous, is that antibodies generated against one serotype do not protect against the others.
In fact, they actually can enhance infection by a second serotype, a process known as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection. Sequential infections increase the risk for dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, characterized by fever, vomiting, internal bleeding and potentially fatal circulatory collapse. Continue>
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