World Health Organization (WHO), came out a study which proved that there are about 390 million cases of dengue fever worldwide, and from the total number of cases, 96 million require medical treatment. Statistics show that India has been affected with Dengue cases ranking up to 35,066 in 2012, which was the highest cases registered till date. Tamil Nadu with 60 and Maharashtra with 59 death cases ranked highest in the total number of 216 lives that India lost to Dengue in 2012.
The researchers have been debating on a medication that can cure dengue and also prevent from spreading further. Recently, Australian researchers have found out that, drugs that have been already developed to treat the bacterial infection can be re-purposed to cure the mosquito-borne viral disease dengue. After a lot of research, few scientists from the University of Queensland have identified identical traits in how human body reacts to dengue virus and bacterial infections. The market already has a lot of drugs for bacterial infections and hence researchers believe that clinical trials for a dengue fever treatment could be taken into action within a year.
Professor Paul Young at University of Queensland said, “We have discovered that the dengue virus NS1 protein acts as a toxin in the body, in a similar manner to the way bacterial cell wall products lead to septic shock in bacterial infections.” Young also mentioned, “For the past 20 to 30 years, researchers and pharmaceutical companies have been developing drug candidates to inhibit the body’s damaging responses to these bacterial infections. So drugs are already available that have gone through phase three clinical trials.”
Dengue virus on average is estimated to infect up to 400 million people globally each year. The WHO has ranked Dengue as the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Mosquito-borne dengue virus has been an increasing problem in tropical and sub-tropical areas and almost more than 2.5 billion people in more than 100 countries are at the risk of infection, said Professor Young. The initial stage of Dengue typically causes a debilitating fever but can gradually progress to dengue shock syndrome and potentially fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever.
“Despite this significant global health burden, no vaccine or drug has yet been licensed,” Young pointed out.
“I hope our discoveries in the lab will translate to the patient bedside and eventually help those who suffer from dengue infection around the world,” said doctoral student Naphak Modhiran, from Thailand who came to work on the project. The findings were detailed in the journal Science Translational Medicine
Now we don’t know how long will it take for the actual drug for Dengue to launch in the market, till then like it’s said – Prevention is better than cure! Prepare in advance against this deadly disease by getting insured against it.