HOME ABOUT CONTACT AVAILABLE ISSUES SUBSCRIBE MEDIA & ADS CONFERENCE CALENDAR
LATEST UPDATES » Vol 20, No 12, December 2016 – Medical Imaging Technology       » Climate Change Could Hurt Coffee, Help Banana Production       » Partnerships and Innovation: Shaping the Future of Healthcare in Asia Pacific       » Chugai's Novel Antibody Technologies Put Singapore at the Centre of Fight Against Disease       » NUS Scientists Discover the "Switch" that Makes Breast Cancer Cells Aggressive      
BIOBOARD - SINGAPORE
New strategy to disarm the dengue virus brings new hope for a universal dengue vaccine
A new strategy that cripples the ability of the dengue virus to escape the host immune system has been discovered by A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). This breakthrough strategy opens a 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 Epidemiology was published in the Plos Pathogens journal, and is also supported by Singapore STOP Dengue Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Programme grant.

Early studies have shown that a sufficiently weakened virus that is still strong enough to generate protective immune response offers the best hope for an effective vaccine. However, over the years of vaccine development, scientists have learnt that the path to finding a virus of appropriate strength is fraught with challenges. This hurdle is compounded by the complexity of the dengue virus. Even though there are only four different serotypes, the fairly high rate of mutation means the virus evolves constantly, and this contributes to the great diversity of the dengue viruses circulating globally. Furthermore, in some cases, the immune response developed following infection by one of the four dengue viruses appears to increase the risk of severe dengue when the same individual is infected with any of the remaining three viruses. With nearly half the world's population at risk of dengue infection and an estimated 400 million people getting infected each year, the need for a safe and long-lasting vaccine has never been greater.

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 recognized 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.

Animal models immunized with the weakened MTase mutant virus were fully protected from a challenge with the normal dengue virus. 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. Taken together, the results confirmed that MTase mutant dengue virus is potentially a safe vaccine approach for developing a universal dengue vaccine that protects from all four serotypes.

The team leader, Dr. Katja Fink from SIgN said, "There is still no clinically approved vaccine or specific treatment available for dengue, so we are very encouraged by the positive results with this novel vaccine strategy. Our next step will be to work on a vaccine formulation that will confer full protection from all four serotypes with a single injection. If this proves to be safe in humans, it can be a major breakthrough for the dengue vaccine field."

Associate Professor Leo Yee Sin, Clinical Director of Communicable Diseases Centre and Institute of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology at Tan Tock Seng Hospital who heads the Singapore STOP Dengue Translational and Clinical Research (TCR) Programme said, "We are into the seventh decade of dengue vaccine development, this indeed is an exciting breakthrough that brings us a step closer to an effective vaccine."

Acting Executive Director of SIgN, Associate Professor Laurent Renia said, "Dengue is a major public health problem in many of the tropical countries. We are very delighted that our collaborative efforts with colleagues in Singapore and China have made a promising step towards a cost-effective and safe dengue vaccine to combat the growing threat of dengue worldwide."

Click here for the complete issue.

NEWS CRUNCH  
news Accuron Technologies' MedTech Division Invests into AWAK Technologies
news Philips introduces PerformanceBridge suite of operational performance improvement software and services for radiology departments
news Give a Gift that Will Last a Lifetime this Holiday Season with Smile Train
PR NEWSWIRE  
Asia Pacific Biotech News
EDITORS' CHOICE  

Lady Ganga: Nilza'S Story
COLUMNS  
Subscribe to APBN E-Newsletter
Find us under 'Others' option to receive APBN e-newsletters thrice a month!

APBN Editorial Calendar 2017
January:
Lungs & Respiratory System
February:
Cancer Research, Treatment/Technology
March:
Traditional Chinese Medicines
April:
Eye Care/ Eye Health
May:
The Piece of Your Mind - Brain Health/Science
June:
Featuring Biotech Start-Ups/Companies
July:
Food Science & Technology
August:
Diabetics Technology
September:
No. 1 Killer - Heart Diseases, Diagnosis and Treatment
October:
Skin Diseases/Allergic Reactions
November:
Diseases threatening our Children
December:
Liver Health & Treatment/Technology
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes.
– Editor: Carmen, Jia Wen Loh
MAGAZINE TAGS
About Us
Events
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Instructions to Authors
Advertise with Us
CONTACT
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   biotech_edit@wspc.com or Ms Carmen
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   biotech_ad@wspc.com
Copyright© 2016 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy