You are here: Home » News-ANI » Health
Business Standard

Early Dengue infection could defuse Zika virus, says study

Health Medical Pharma


Existing immunity against dengue virus is capable of significantly reducing the risk of Zika virus in newborns, claims a new study.

According to the study published in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers compared genomes of all known dengue viruses in Brazil to investigate interactions between dengue and Zika viruses.

"We can now say that people who have had early infections with dengue do not need to worry much about contracting more severe forms of Zika infection due to this," said virologist Prof Felix Drexler.

According to the virologist, it is known for sure that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can potentially affect the unborn fetus in such a way that the child develops microcephaly or malformations of the head and other severe symptoms.

Zika viruses are usually transmitted by mosquitoes, particularly by the Aedes species, but they can also be transmitted sexually. Symptoms of Zika include rashes, headaches, joint pain and muscle pain, conjunctivitis and sometimes fever.

However, these symptoms are considered mild compared to other tropical diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes. During pregnancy, the virus can cause microcephaly and other malformations in the unborn child.

Scientists consequently began to search for cofactors that have an influence on whether a Zika infection during pregnancy will develop fatal consequences or not.

Dengue viruses, which are widespread in Latin America and caused dengue fever, were suspected to be cofactors.

Initially, the scientists suspected that the antibodies humans produce against the dengue virus contribute to the fetal damage caused in later Zika infection.

"Surprisingly, our study has shown that a previous dengue infection can protect against Zika-associated damage," emphasized Drexler.

As an existing immunity against dengue virus significantly reduces the risk of Zika-associated microcephaly in newly borns.

"We can now say that people who have had early infections with dengue do not need to worry much about contracting more severe forms of Zika infection due to this," summarised Drexler.

Felix Drexler and his research group have already developed several novel Zika virus tests. The Zika diagnostics project in Brazil was brought underway by the DZIF in order to act against the threat of emerging infections. It is also being funded by the EU programme Horizon 2020.


(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, May 19 2019. 15:56 IST