Washington DC: As per a new study, first dengue treatment has come closer to reality.
Clinical trials for a dengue fever treatment could start within a year, following a discovery by University of Queensland scientists.
Professor Paul Young said that the researchers had identified similarities in how the body reacted to dengue virus and bacterial infections, in a finding that would allow them to re-purpose existing drugs.
He noted that they 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 added that 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 is estimated to infect up to 400 million people globally each year.
The World Health Organisation ranks it as the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world.
Given increased international travel and the prospect of climate change extending the range of the dengue mosquito, more people will be at risk, he said.
Researcher Naphak Modhiran said that she hopes their discoveries in the lab will translate to the patient bedside and eventually help those who suffer from dengue infection around the world.
The study is published in Science Translational Medicine.