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Finally, We Have Antiviral Drug That May Help Prevent And Treat Dengue

Finally, We Have Antiviral Drug That May Help Prevent And Treat Dengue
Antiviral Drug That May Help Prevent And Treat Dengue

Did you know that there is no antiviral drug available to treat or prevent dengue? But a new team of researchers may have found a drug that will help in the fight against the vector-borne disease.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : October 8, 2021 12:00 PM IST

A mosquito-borne disease, dengue is typically found in tropical and sub-tropical climates around the world. Dengue viruses are mostly spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of the world's population is at a high risk of dengue. The virus that causes dengue fever is known as dengue virus (DENV). There are four DENV serotypes, which means you can get infected four times.

DENV can cause acute flu-like disease, even though most DENV infections are mild. Severe dengue fever is a potentially fatal complication that can occur in some cases. In some Asian and Latin American nations, severe dengue fever is a primary cause of serious illness and death.

New Potential Drug May Help Prevent And Treat Dengue

According to a study published in the journal Nature, there are no antiviral drugs to prevent or treat dengue. But the team of researchers have found a potent antiviral against dengue. The antiviral compound is highly efficient against all known dengue strains and could be utilized for both treatment and prevention.

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Professor Johan Neyts of the Rega Institute at KU Leuven explains, "Together with the research group of Professor Ralf Bartenschlager from Heidelberg University, we demonstrated that our inhibitor prevents the interaction between two viral proteins that are part of a kind of copier for the genetic material of the virus. If this interaction is blocked, the virus can no longer copy its genetic material. As a result, no new virus particles are produced." Further discussing the effectiveness of the vaccines, experts said that even a low dose of the medicine taken orally was found to be quite effective. Furthermore, even when the infection has reached its peak, the treatment is still beneficial. The number of virus particles in the blood in these patients fell dramatically within 24 hours of starting treatment. This demonstrates how effective antiviral medicine is.

According to research done on mice, the inhibitor could also be utilised to prevent disease. These findings are encouraging, given that the current dengue vaccine only provides partial protection from the disease.

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