Universal dengue vaccine...
A new strategy has been developed that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune...
A new strategy has been developed that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune system. A STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) made the breakthrough, which has opened the door of hope to what may become the world`s first universal dengue vaccine candidate that can give full protection from all four serotypes of the dreadful virus. This research done in collaboration with Singapore’s Novartis Institute of Tropical Diseases (NITD) and Beijing Institute of Microbiology and is also supported by Singapore STOP Dengue Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Programme grant.
The new strategy uncovered in this study overcomes the prevailing challenges of vaccine development by tackling the virus’ ability to ‘hide’ from the host immune system. Dengue virus requires the enzyme called MTase (also known as 2`-O-methyltransferase) to chemically modify its genetic material to escape detection. In this study, the researchers discovered that by introducing a genetic mutation to deactivate the MTase enzyme of the virus, initial cells infected by the weakened MTase mutant virus is immediately recognised as foreign.
As a result, the desired outcome of a strong protective immune response is triggered yet at the same time the mutant virus hardly has a chance to spread in the host.
The researchers went on to demonstrate that the MTase mutant dengue virus cannot infect Aedes mosquitoes.
This means that the mutated virus is unable to replicate in the mosquito, and will not be able to spread through mosquitoes into our natural environment.