Dengue fever is responsible for 20,000 deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.
As of yet, doctors are only able to treat the symptoms of the disease. However, a team of scientists in Singapore think they may have found the first step toward a cure: an antibody derived from recovered dengue fever patients that can attack the disease on a cellular level.
As lead scientist on the team, Paul MacAry, explains, “By binding the two glycoproteins on the surface of the virus, you essentially block the virus from infecting new cells and new tissues, and that’s how the antibody works. It blocks and neutralizes the virus.”
During the trial, doctors will observe the long-term effects once the virus is removed from the blood, making sure that it can effectively cure the patient completely.
If the doctors succeed, the next step will be to find a way to make the process of producing the antibodies more cost effective.
According to Clinical Director at Singapore’s Communicable Disease Centre, Leo Yee Sin, “At this point in time, I think the essential thing is to [mass produce] larger quantities of human antibodies. [Currently], it is a costly exercise.”