Scientists from the University of Queensland (Australia) have developed a new vaccine against the dengue virus. According to the inventors, the drug has been shown to be 100% effective. In addition, it can be produced in the form of a patch, which will facilitate its use in the future.
Two viruses, dengue, and the recently discovered Binjari virus, have been combined in laboratory conditions to obtain the vaccine. The resulting preparation was injected into rodents at 21-day intervals. Some of the mice were inoculated with adjuvant – a substance that enhances the immune response.
Ten days after the second injection, the animals were exposed to the dengue virus. The experiment showed that those who received the vaccine with the adjuvant were completely protected against the virus. The other group that received just the vaccine got sick but had a higher survival rate than the unvaccinated mice.
According to the developers, the new vaccine can be administered with an injection and a microneedle patch. The patch is only 1×1 cm in size and contains five thousand tiny needles that painlessly inject the drug under the skin.
“While the results are promising, it’s important to remember that these were experiments in mice, not humans. There is still a lot of work ahead – especially as there are four strains of dengue to fight. We must adapt the vaccine for all variants of the virus. In the future, if the vaccine shows good results, it can be used for other mosquito-borne viruses,” concluded the scientists.
According to the WHO, dengue fever is one of the fastest-growing infections, especially in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, Laos, Singapore, and the Philippines. Over the past ten years, the total number of infections in the Western Pacific has doubled. In 2020, Singapore announced the most serious dengue epidemic in history.
There is currently only one vaccine for dengue, Dengvaxia. It can reduce the risk of infection by 65% and prevent the development of complications by 73%. However, it is only effective for people who have already had this virus. Vaccination of previously unhealthy people increased the risk of severe illness.