New molecules have been proposed for treating Dengue virus. Thus far, vaccine attempts have been unsuccessful due to the antibody-dependent enhancement phenomenon that occurs when one is exposed to multiple serotypes of the virus. This can cause the normal Dengue symptoms of fever, muscle pain, headache, and joint pain, into the hemorrhagic manifestations of Dengue hemorrhagic fever. Instead, symptomatic treatment and antiviral agents have been primarily used to treat the disease.
In the past, the scientific community has approached Dengue antivirals by looking at a protease known as NS2B/NS3. Inhibitors of similar proteases has been relatively effective in treating patients with HIV and Hepatitus C; however, they have not been extremely successful against Dengue. Recently, Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg have developed a number of very good Dengue virus protease inhibitors from the diaryl thioether class of molecules. They have been extremely effective in vitro; the inhibitors proved to be extremely specific, leaving alone other similar viruses such as Hepatitis C. This research group will continue on with tests of the drugs’ effectiveness in higher organisms in the near future.
As the territory of Dengue continues to spread, more effective ways must be found to prevent and treat the disease to prevent widespread infection.
- - Eddie Irvine