Friday, March 24, 2017

Dengue and Zika: Viral Kissing Cousins

Although Dengue and Zika are different viral species, new research suggests that they are similar enough to elicit similar T-cell responses in patients. Of particular interest is the fact that when a patient has been infected with Dengue one time, if they are subsequently infected with Zika, there immune system behaves much like it is seeing one of the other three Dengue serotypes, and not like it is responding to a totally new virus. This is interesting because Zika and Dengue share similar geographic ranges and a common mosquito vectors, and it appears that both viruses are here to stay. A secondary infection of a different serotype of dengue than the primary infection can result in antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a serious complication that can lead to hemorrhagic fever. While there is a small concern that this type of antibody enhancement could occur between Dengue and Zika if a patient gets both over a life course, preliminary results suggest that it is unlikely that we will see ADE between these two species. It is more likely that vaccine developers may be able to use this information during Dengue or Zika vaccine formulation.

Elisa Hofmeister ‘18

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