Dengue Research

There’s been a huge uptick in dengue research since climate change began to double the disease’s range and it started afflicting people in rich countries. Here’s a great database, from Harvard University, that will let you do your own research:

Dengue Occurrence World Wide
Dengue Occurrence World Wide

And here’s a fascinating development in the antigenic properties of the four dengue virus types:

“An international consortium of laboratories worldwide that are studying the differences among dengue viruses has shown that while the long-held view that there are four genetically-distinct types of the virus holds, far more important are the differences in their antigenic properties – the ‘coats’ that the viruses wear that help our immune systems identify them.

Dengue virus infects up to 390 million people each year. Around a quarter of these people will experience fever, headaches and joint pains, but approximately 500,000 people will experience potentially life-threatening complications, including haemorrhage and shock, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs. There are currently no vaccines against infection with dengue virus.

For decades, scientists have thought that there are four genetically-distinct types of the virus, known as serotypes, and that antigenic differences between the types play a key role in the severity of disease, its epidemiology and how the virus evolves – and hence these differences would be important in vaccine design.

When we become infected, our immune system sends out antibodies to try and identify the nature of the infection. If it is a pathogen – a virus or bacteria – that we have previously encountered, the antibodies will recognise the invader by antigens on its surface and set of a cascade of defences to prevent the infection taking hold. However, as pathogens evolve, they can change their antigens and disguise themselves against detection.

One of the unusual aspects of dengue is that in some cases when an individual becomes infected for a second time, rather than being immune to infection, the disease can be much more severe. One hypothesis to explain this is that the antibodies produced in response to infection with one strain of the virus somehow allow viruses of a different strain to enter undetected into cells, implying that antigenic differences between the serotypes are important.

Researchers from the Dengue Antigenic Cartography Consortium, writing in today’s edition of Science, analysed 47 strains of dengue virus with 148 samples taken from both humans and primates to see whether they indeed fit into four distinct types. The researchers found a significant amount of antigenic difference within each dengue serotype – in fact, the amount of difference within each serotype was of a similar order to that between the different types. This implies that an individual infected with one type may not be protected against antigenically different viruses of the same type, and that in some cases the individual may be protected against some antigenically similar strains of a different type.

Leah Katzelnick, a researcher from the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, who began studying dengue after herself contracting the disease, says: “We were surprised at how much variation we saw…” Read more..

And here’s a useful discovery from a team at the University of Texas:

How dengue virus adapts as it travels

GALVESTON, Texas, July 6, 2015 – A researcher from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is an integral member of a collaborative group that is the first to explain the mechanisms that the Dengue virus has developed to optimize its ability to cause outbreaks as it travels across the globe to new places and revisits old ones. An early online version of this paper detailing the findings has recently been published in Science.

Dengue virus has been spreading throughout warm regions of the world, prompting the virus to adapt to new environments. This diversification in viral strains has resulted in the development of strains that appear associated with greater potential for sparking epidemics. Several dengue outbreaks have occurred when new dengue strains emerged and displaced the native strains that the local population had already developed immunity against. Until now, the mechanisms governing how and why some viral strains are better suited for causing widespread disease has been poorly understood.

The investigators examined the different clades of dengue virus-2 known to be circulating around Puerto Rico in 1994 when a severe epidemic broke out. Investigating the differences between the virus strain that was most commonly seen from 1986 to 1995 and a new, more potent viral strain that was first isolated in 1994 was the key to figuring out why this outbreak occurred.

They identified an interaction between the newcomer virus’s RNA and proteins within the host that allows the virus to bypass the host’s immune response, making it easier for the virus to invade. Based on the findings, the research team devised a model to explain the 1994 dengue outbreak in Puerto Rico.

“This study highlights the critical and oft forgotten role played by non-coding RNAs in the battle between viruses and their human hosts,” said author Mariano Garcia-Blanco, UTMB professor and chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and also professor of emerging infectious diseases at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. “It emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary research: a fabulous marriage of basic RNA biology and clinically informed epidemiology uncovered an unexpected route of virus evolution that explained (and perhaps could predict) epidemic potential.”

Other authors of this paper include Gayathri Manokaran, Esteban Finol, Jayantha Gunaratne, Eugenia Z. Ong, Hwee Cheng Tan, October M. Sessions, Alex M. Ward, Duane J. Gubler and corresponding author Eng Eong Ooi from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School; Chunling Wang, and Eva Harris from the University of California, Berkeley and Justin Bahl from the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston.

This research was supported by the Singapore National Medical Research Council, the Ministry of Health in Singapore, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Agency of Science, Technology and Research in Singapore and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Here are some links to dengue research in PLOS1:

Here are more dengue research links from Travel Medicine:

Cited in Scopus: 0
Burke A. Cunha, Sigridh Munoz-Gomez
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 3p293–295
Published online: April 3, 2014
Cited in Scopus: 7
Danilo Tomasello, Patricia Schlagenhauf
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 5p274–284
Published online: August 19, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 1
 Karin Leder, Margot Mutsch, Patricia Schlagenhauf, Christine Luxemburger, Joseph Torresi
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 4p210–213
Published online: July 25, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 0
 Natalie Cleton, Chantal Reusken, Jean-Luc Murk, Menno de Jong, Johan Reimerink, Annemiek van der Eijk, Marion Koopmans
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 2p159–166
Published online: December 2, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 2
 Praveen Nilendra Weeratunga, Manjula Chandragomi Caldera, Inuka Kishara Gooneratne, Ranjanie Gamage, Priyankara Perera
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 2p189–193
Published online: December 12, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 4
 Yasutaka Mizuno, Yasuyuki Kato, Shigeyuki Kano, Tomohiko Takasaki
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 10Issue 2p86–91
Published online: March 19, 2012
Cited in Scopus: 0
 Aravinthan Varatharaj
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 2p194
Published online: January 31, 2014
Cited in Scopus: 0
 Beuy Joob, Viroj Wiwanitkit
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 2p195
Published online: March 13, 2014
Cited in Scopus: 0
 Viroj Wiwanitkit
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 5p332
Published online: September 10, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 1
 Sadegh Chinikar, Seyed Mojtaba Ghiasi, Nariman Shah-Hosseini, Ehsan Mostafavi, Maryam Moradi, Sahar Khakifirouz, Fereshteh Sadat Rasi Varai, Mahboubeh Rafigh, and others
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 3p166–169
Published online: November 28, 2012
Cited in Scopus: 0
 Marion Delord, Cristina Socolovschi, Philippe Parola
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 5p443–458
Published online: September 14, 2014
Cited in Scopus: 1
 Siu-keung Edmond Ma, Wang Christine Wong, Chi-wah Ryan Leung, Sik-to Thomas Lai, Yee-chi Janice Lo, Kai-hay Howard Wong, Man-chung Chan, Tak-lun Que, and others
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 9Issue 3p95–105
Published online: June 14, 2010
Cited in Scopus: 1
 Jason M. Blaylock, Ashley Maranich, Kristen Bauer, Nancy Nyakoe, John Waitumbi, Luis J. Martinez, Julia Lynch
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 9Issue 5p246–248
Published online: July 21, 2011
Cited in Scopus: 11
 David W. Smith, David J. Speers, John S. Mackenzie
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 9Issue 3p113–125
Published online: June 14, 2010
Cited in Scopus: 2
 Uzma N. Sarwar, Sandra Sitar, Julie E. Ledgerwood
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 9Issue 3p126–134
Published online: June 28, 2010
Cited in Scopus: 1
 Andreas Neumayr, Christoph Hatz, Johannes Blum
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 6p337–349
Published online: October 31, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 2
 Burke A. Cunha, Arthur Gran, Sigridh Munoz-Gomez
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 1p66–69
Published online: October 22, 2012
Cited in Scopus: 5
 Eleonora Lupi, Christoph Hatz, Patricia Schlagenhauf
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 6p374–411
Published online: November 6, 2013
Cited in Scopus: 2
 Mary Elizabeth Wilson, Lin H. Chen
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 12Issue 3p205–207
Published online: April 17, 2014
Cited in Scopus: 1
 Kelly Kamimura-Nishimura, Donald Rudikoff, Murli Purswani, Stefan Hagmann
Travel Medicine and Infectious DiseaseVol. 11Issue 6p350–356
Published online: October 28, 2013

India’s Botanical Dengue Drug

India’s botanical Dengue drug is getting world wide attention. At last! India, the home of ayurvedic medicine, has begun work to develop, test and market a botanical drug to treat of dengue, with drug major Sun Pharma announcing its collaborative effort with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB).
The move follows a March announcement of success in the drug’s initial development stage through a joint project between the ICGEB, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Dengue Mosquito: Aedes Aegypti
Dengue Mosquito: Aedes Aegypti

Sun Pharma will fund entire development programme of Cissampelos pariera (Cipa), the botanical drug to treat all strains of dengue. While the pharma giant will pay royalty following commercialisation of the drug, the ICGEB will provide the technical know-how and pre-clinical expertise.
“Using the knowledge of traditional Indian medicine, we explored the indigenous herbal bio-resource to identify plants with pan-DENV inhibitory activity and identified CIPA as a safe, affordable and effective solution,” said Dr Dinakar M Salunke, director, ICGEB, New Delhi.
Given the densely-populated cities and the high prevalence of the mosquito that spreads dengue — aedes aegypti — India is home to close to 50% of the global population estimated to be at risk of dengue. Severe dengue, which can potentially kill, correlates with very high-virus load, reduction in platelet counts and haemorrhage.
The new drug is expected to reduce high-virus load and make the disease milder, leading to fewer hospitalisations. The collaboration aims to explore how the extract prepared from Cipa Linn can inhibit the replication of virus in living cells against dengue infection.
The terms of this agreement permits Sun Pharma’s access to all the intellectual properties of this drug cross 17 countries.
“In tropical countries like India, where dengue outbreaks are significantly intense, a drug for dengue is an unmet public health need. Our partnership with ICGEB aims to develop Cipa as a safe, effective & affordable botanical drug for treatment of dengue,” said Kirti Ganorkar, senior V-P, business development and portfolio management, Sun Pharma, the world’s fifth largest generic pharmaceutical company.
The ICGEB will establish assay systems for development of Cipa for treatment of dengue infection for a pre-defined period of time. The ICGEB will work exclusively with Sun Pharma for the development of this drug, and clinical treatment strategies based on botanical and phyto-pharmaceuticals. Sun Pharma will pay royalties on sales post commercialisation. Other financial details of this agreement are cialis prix confidential.
Dengue is estimated to costs India over $1.1 billion (about Rs 7,260 crore) annually, with the cost of medical care being nearly $550 million and the indirect cost, in terms of lost wages, being another $550 million. Read more..

Dengue Virus Structure

What’s the Dengue virus look like? What’s its structure? An imaging technique called neutron scattering is giving us an intimate look at the dengue virus structure, as this article from Oak Ridge National Laboratory makes clear:

Dengue Virus Structure
Dengue Virus Structure

Without a host, a virus is a dormant package of proteins, genetic material and occasional lipids. Once inside a living cell, however, a virus can latch onto cell parts and spring into action—mutating, replicating and spreading into new cells.

The mosquito-borne Sindbis virus is a member of the same family that causes West Nile fever and dengue fever.
The mosquito-borne Sindbis virus is a member of the same family that causes West Nile fever and dengue fever. [Image credit: Paredes et al., Virology 324, 373 (2004)]

“There’s this thought that a virus has one structure, whether it’s in a mosquito or in a human cell,” says ORNL researcher Flora Meilleur. “But a mosquito cell and a human cell are very different, which means that a virus may have to reorganize itself.”

Meilleur is part of a research team from ORNL and North Carolina State University (NCSU) that is examining how viruses change their structure when they move among different host species. Understanding how a virus reorganizes itself when migrating from a mosquito to a human is essential for developing medicines that can block the spread of viruses.

The team’s most recent study, published in the Journal of Virology, focuses on the Sindbis virus, a member of the arbovirus family that causes infectious diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile fever. Scientists have previously observed host-specific differences in the Sindbis virus, but Meilleur says the team’s study is the first time that subtle structural variations in Sindbis have been observed and characterized. “This is the first structural comparison of Sindbis viruses grown in different host cells.”

The team, which includes Meilleur, Lilin He, Dean Myles and William Heller from ORNL and Amanda Piper, Raquel Hernandez and Dennis Brown from NCSU, used a technique called small-angle neutron scattering to compare virus particles from mammalian and insect cells. Their results revealed that the mammalian-grown viruses exhibited distinct features, including a larger diameter, increased levels of cholesterol and a different distribution of genetic material in the virus core. “The results suggest that structural changes are likely to be important in transmission between hosts,” Meilleur says. “The chemical environment of the host cell appears to affect how the virus assembles itself.”

The team’s structural studies were performed at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor using the facility’s Bio-SANS instrument, which uses chilled neutrons to analyze the structure, function and dynamics of complex biological systems. Whereas techniques like X-ray scattering can cause radiation damage in biological samples during analysis, neutron scattering is nondestructive. “Neutron scattering enables us to see differences in the composition of the virus without destroying the sample,” Meilleur says. The ability of neutrons to see the composition of biological materials is linked to the particles’ sensitivity to hydrogen, which is a key component in compounds like proteins and cell membranes.

Although viral agents from the arbovirus family are a major source of human disease across the globe, very few effective vaccines exist for their control. A detailed understanding of the mechanism by which viruses gain entry into cells will be crucial for the successful pursuit of pharmaceuticals to ultimately treat and prevent infection from members of this virus family.

This just in: Scientists at UMass Medical School have performed the first CRISPR/Cas9 screen to discover human proteins that Zika virus needs for replication. This work, led by Abraham Brass, MD, PhD, assistant professor in microbiology & physiological systems, reveals new leads that may be useful for halting Zika, dengue and other emerging viral infections. The study appears online in the journal Cell Reports.

“These genetic screens give us our first look at what these viruses need to survive,” said Dr. Brass. “Our lab and others in our field have worked hard to develop the systems and infrastructure needed to investigate the genetics underlying how viral pathogens use our own cell’s machinery to replicate. This has allowed the scientific community to respond quickly when the Zika virus threat emerged. In our lab, we adapted the technology and tools we’d established over the last four years working with other viruses to begin investigating the biology of Zika virus.”

Chinese Dengue Experiment

The government in Guangzhou province is carrying out a Chinese dengue experiment.

How do you fight a swarm of disease carrying mosquitoes? By breeding an uninfected swarm of your own. While the idea may sound counterintuitive, that’s exactly what scientists are doing to help fight Dengue fever, the deadly mosquito-spread epidemic that has plagued much of the Pearl River Delta.

mosquito factoryGuangdong has taken a number of different approaches in the fight against Dengue fever over the years: patriotic campaignsremoving abandoned cars, and mass fumigation. However, the fever has continued to spread and infected over 47,000 residents in the PRD last year.With the high season of Dengue now upon us, authorities are going on the offensive to ensure there won’t be a repeat of last year’s “full-blown crisis“.

Scientists from Sun Yat-sen University are fighting against mosquito-spread Dengue fever by releasing sterilized male mosquitoes of their own, in hopes of eventually eliminating the female mosquitoes carrying Dengue.
To do so however, they need to be breed a lot of mosquitos. The Science City is breeding a million male sterilized mosquitoes every week and releasing them on the city’s Shazai Island in Nansha District, making the mosquito factory the largest in the world. According to team leader Xi Zhiyong, they’re confident that their hard work will pay off: We need to be very thorough and precise with our scientific data. Our objective is to have our findings published in the world’s top scientific periodicals and exert international influence in the fight against Dengue fever. More

Dengue Vaccine Not For Children

A Newly Developed Dengue Vaccine, but Not For Children

There’s good news and bad news about Sanofi’s new dengue vaccine. The worst news is there is a dengue vaccine but it is not for  children – especially the young ones, those most at risk.

A new vaccine to treat dengue – leading cause of illness and death among children in some Latin American and Asian countries – makes young children more likely to contract the disease. So says a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The good news is that it protects children nine years old and older from the infection. That’s a bummer because it is young children who are most at risk.

Every year 500,000 people — many of whom are children — are hospitalized  severe dengue; and about 12,500 die. Another disappointment is that the vaccine only protects two thirds of people treated. The remaining 33% got infected with dengue.

And another bummer: children who were vaccinated when they were younger than 9 were more likely to be hospitalized, especially if they were between two and five years old at the beginning of the trial. Kids nine or older at the trial’s start were 80% less likely to be hospitalized from dengue two years later, compared to their peers receiving a placebo. In that 80% group, two-thirds of the kids didn’t contract dengue of any kind.

Cameron Simmons, a dengue virus researcher at the University of Oxford, says it’s not clear why the results were different among the age groups. “It’s possible the results are chance findings,” Simmons writes. “It’s also possible that some children may not have been hospitalized despite being ill. Because the study examined hospitalizations, there may have been illnesses that were missed”.

Melanie Saville, chief medical and clinical officer of dengue research at Sanofi said that the study enrolled more than 35,000 youths aged 2-16 in three clinical trials in six Asian and five Latin American countries, including Thailand, Mexico, and Colombia. Most received the Sanofi dengue vaccine; the rest got a placebo. Three to four years later, the researchers checked on the participants.

“Based on the data available today… we conclude that our candidate vaccine will have the greatest public health impact if used in people nine years of age and older,” Dr Saville says. The vaccine “promises to be a real tool for endemic countries.” That’s a nice way of saying that this Dengue Vaccine is not for children.

It’s still too early to determine the cost of the vaccine, Dr. Saville says. Sanofi’s focus is getting the drug approved in countries where dengue is endemic. “The regulatory approval process has started in several countries of Asia and Latin America,” Saville says.

So…the first Dengue Vaccine is Not For Children. Will we find that dengue vaccines in general aren’t safe for children?

Dengue and Tourists

There’s a problem with Dengue and Tourists

Here’s what I’m talking about: A staggering 69 per cent of foreigners living in Phuket or visiting the island receive little to no warning about the dangers of dengue and how the disease is transmitted, according to the results of the latest online poll by The Phuket News.

The recent bout of wet weather over Phuket has left puddles of fresh water strewn all over the island, the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry the potentially lethal dengue virus.

But the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) recently reported that the number of dengue cases at Phuket hospitals so far this year is “no more than normal”, as the return of the annual southwest monsoon also brings an annual spike in the incidence of dengue.

The PPHO and local authorities weeks ago launched campaigns to raise awareness of the disease as they do every year, but the campaigns are in Thai and aimed at educating Thai-speaking residents.

To this, The Phuket News asked our readers: “Do you think the government does enough to warn foreigners about dengue?”

Testament to how little warning foreigners in Phuket receive about dengue, only 2pc of respondents to the poll said “Yes, foreigners are given ample warning about dengue” – and all those respondents were Thai.

Compare that with the 10pc of respondents who said: “Dengue? What’s dengue?”

And of that 10pc of respondents to the poll, 12pc were “Foreign visitors to Phuket”, better known simply as tourists.

Only 4pc of people who voted in the poll said “Yes, but there is room for improvement” in the efforts to warn foreigners about dengue, while 17pc said: “Not really, I see some effort to warn foreigners, but not enough.” Phuket News.

Watch this warning about dengue and tourists:


New Drug Trial for Dengue

There’s a New Drug Trial for Dengue

Asthma drug against dengue to be tested in clinical trial

Asthma drug against dengue to be tested in clinical trial

Blood meals taken from humans by the female mosquito Aedes aegypti are the vector of Dengue feverA drug that has been used for over 30 years as an asthma and allergy medicine is now being tested to treat symptoms of dengue fever. The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) are running a clinical trial, in collaboration with National University Hospital (NUH) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH), called KETODEN, to test the drug Ketotifen on patients who are infected with dengue.

Research that preceded the trial was done at Duke-NUS while the trial is being conducted in the Investigational Medical Unit (IMU) at NUS with patients from SGH and NUH.

Ketotifen is traditionally used to reduce the incidence of asthma and allergy attacks in patients. It works as an antihistamine and mast cell stabiliser. One of the symptoms of asthma is vascular leakage, or movement of fluid in the body that occurs when blood vessels are damaged. This is caused by the activation of a certain type of immune cell, the mast cell. Ketotifen works by blocking mast cells, which helps stop vascular leakage.

Assistant Professor Ashley St. John and her team, from the Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, were able to show that mast calls react strongly to  virus infection and release pro-inflammatory proteins, which may cause vascular leakage. It is hypothesised, that like in asthma, if Ketotifen can block mast cell activation in dengue, it may be able to block some of the more severe symptoms of dengue.

In dengue, mast cell activation leads to vascular leakage in animal models. Vascular leakage is the main complication of dengue where fluids from the blood are lost from blood vessels into other parts of the body such as the lining of the lungs. This reduces the overall blood volume and creates problems from excessive fluid build-up in areas such as the lungs or abdomen. Excessive or uncontrolled vascular leakage leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue with complications, in human patients.

The trial, led by Professor Paul Tambyah from the Department of Medicine at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, is aimed at determining if Ketotifen can safely alleviate these complications. Currently, dengue patients are often managed in outpatient clinics by providing fever and pain relief and advice on fluid intake. If vascular leakage is detected, or if patients have other complications, then they may be admitted for observation or intravenous fluids to prevent shock. However, there is no approved treatment to prevent vascular leakage during .

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is endemic in many parts of the world, including Singapore. Last year Singapore saw a rise in the number of dengue cases to almost 900 a week in peak months. This year, there have already been almost 3000 cases of dengue fever. Infection can lead to high fever, muscle aches, rash and vascular leakage. Vascular leakage is a key factor in the development of these more severe forms of the virus. There is currently no medicine approved for the treatment of .

The collaborators of this trial at Duke-NUS, NUS, NUH and SGH are hopeful that Ketotifen will prove efficacious and prove to be an effective treatment for dengue, in a region that sorely needs one. Credit.

 Explore further: Team finds powerful dengue neutralizing antibody

Malaysia’s Dengue Research Fail

Malaysia’s Years of Dengue Research Failure

GEORGE TOWN – Malaysia appears to be heading nowhere with dengue research.
The plan to release genetically altered male Aedes mosquitoes so that they cannot breed with wild females has proven too costly and impractical.
Another plan for a dengue vaccine by a pharmaceutical company which was slated to be marketed next month was shot down by the Health Ministry since it was not satisfied with the research data.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the genetically changed mosquitoes were only useful in small areas but “dengue is all over the place” in Malaysia.
Dengue cases reached an all-time high of nearly 100,000 last year.
“We would have to flood the country with huge numbers of mosquitoes.
“We are concerned because nobody has studied the ecological effects of releasing such a huge number of genetically changed mosquitoes”
The genetic modification of Aedes came from Oxford University and Malaysia’s Institute of Medical Research tested it in the laboratory in 2006.
Speaking to reporters after launching the 9th National Conference for Clinical Research here yesterday, Dr Subramaniam also said the dengue vaccine’s clinical trials were completed and the pharmaceutical company wanted to market it.
“But the research data they gave us is not enough for us to use the vaccine on a large scale.
“We are back to square one with dengue research,” he said.
He said Malaysia had to take the lead in dengue research.
“We cannot rely on developed nations for medical discoveries which tend to be skewed towards issues they face.
“Malaysia has our own set of medical problems so we need to scale up our research,” he said.

Why did Malaysia’s dengue research fail? No-one seems to know. It’s good to see a government like Malaysia’s being so open about the failure of its dengue research. In science, most things fail. Malaysia back to square one in dengue research
Thursday, May 28, 2015. The Star/Asia News Network. By Arnold Loh

Dengue in Singapore

How They’re fighting Dengue in Singapore.

SINGAPORE: Dengue has been a pest in Singapore for as long as anyone can remember. So what are they doing to combat dengue in Singapore? Well, as is typical of Singapore, they’re taking a high-tech approach.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) will be collaborating with biotechnology company Visterra to further development of an antibody to treat dengue fever, the agency announced on Friday (May 22).

The antibody, VIS513, is designed to neutralise all four serotypes of the dengue virus. Developed by Visterra, it demonstrated in pre-clinical studies on animal models a rapid reduction in the concentration of virus after it was administered. This result supports its potential use for treatment of dengue virus infection, said A*STAR.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Visterra retains all rights to develop and commercialise the antibody globally, added A*STAR.

A*STAR’s Drug Discovery and Development unit (D3) and Visterra will also work with infectious disease experts at Duke-National University of Singapore to generate additional data necessary to initiate clinical trials, said A*STAR. Upon completion of these activities, D3 and Visterra will conduct clinical trials in humans in Singapore.

“We are encouraged by VIS513’s preclinical data, which demonstrate its potential to broadly neutralise all four dengue virus serotypes, as there is currently no specific treatment for dengue, and prevention depends solely on limiting or eradicating mosquitoes that transmit the virus,” said Prof Alex Matter, Chief Executive Officer of D3 and A*STAR’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC). “We are looking forward to working closely with Visterra and advancing VIS513 into the clinic.” Read more…