According to the researchers, they have discovered antibodies that could you help in the developing a vaccine against the mosquito borne disease, Dengue fever.
The people who had been infected by this rapidly emerging disease are about 400 million each year. According to research by international scientists and from University of Melbourne, Australia, published in the journal Nature Communications, they have found a class of antibody that works against all the types of dengue virus possibly four.
Due to lack of any licensed vaccines for dengue, it has taken millions of human lives mostly children. The disease starts off as flu-like symptoms and might get very severe and result in bleeding diathesis. It is life threatening and so a vaccine for dengue is much needed.
The antibody recognition for dengue has been very challenging. Although, it is true that once a person is infected by one form of dengue, it gets immune to that form. But the patient remains liable to the rest of the types of dengue. Another challenging part about dengue virus is that it undergoes dramatic changes during the course of its life which is spent partly in the mosquito cells and the rest in human cells. This makes the recognition of antibodies difficult.
According to the study by Professor Simmons and his team, he had collected 145 samples of anti-dengue antibodies and during this process they found a new class of antibody which is very unique in structure and is called as epitope. Epitope is found in all virus types. Antibodies against epitopes are very active and they kill the virus whether they are in the human cell or in the mosquito. The epitope which was previously not found is now names as an envelope dimer epitope (EDE).
Promising results were reported in July 2014 when first dengue vaccine was administered. According to the report, It was shown by 3 clinical trial that although efficacy is different across the 4 types of dengue virus, but overall 56% of patients were protected from the disease by the vaccine.