Dengue causes 390 million infections per year. However, there is no universal vaccine that attacks the four existing serotypes of dengue virus. In the search for an effective treatment against this disease, Mexican researcher Dr. Arturo Reyes Sandoval, associate professor at the University of Oxford, develops a universal vaccine that stimulates T cells, which are cytotoxic lymphocytes capable of killing already infected cells.
Reyes Sandoval participated in the First International Symposium on Emerging Infectious Diseases- Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Nuffield Department of Medicine of (NDM) at University of Oxford (United Kingdom), in collaboration with the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP) (Mexico), where he presented the innovative research.
“In our body, the immune system uses two elements to protect us: antibodies and T cells. All vaccines try to stimulate antibodies. On the other hand, what we did was to look for a universal vaccine and we found that the only way to obtain it is by stimulating T cells, not antibodies,” explained the scientist from the State of Puebla, Mexico.
So far, the leading vaccine in the world is manufactured by Sanofi, which provides certain levels of protection, but unfortunately some people can still get severe dengue. In addition, vaccines use a complex mixture of all serotypes, he said.
Reyes Sandoval said that dengue virus has evolved over thousands of years, resulting in the development of four types or serotypes present in different regions of the world. The evolution to these serotypes is a defense mechanism to immune responses. “The rotation of each of them is an intelligent response of the virus to survive for many years. The big problem of alternating serotypes is severe disease, that’s what we have to prevent.”
For 10 years, Dr. Arturo Reyes Sandoval and his research team are developing a universal vaccine against dengue, which is still in the testing stage in animal models. Preliminary results against this viral infection will allow obtaining international or British government funds to test it in humans. The next step will be to test this medical development in humans, a process that would take about five more years, the researcher said at the University of Oxford.
Source: Agencia ID