Friday November 15, 2019

Vaccinating against Dengue Fever likely to increase Zika outbreaks, warn Researchers

Dengue and Zika are both part of the Flaviviridae family transmitted through a common mosquito host

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Spraying to counter Malaria,, Flickr

Toronto, Nov 1, 2016: Vaccinating against dengue fever could increase outbreaks of Zika, warns a study by a team of researchers from Canada and China.

As dengue and Zika are both part of the Flaviviridae family transmitted through a common mosquito host, the researchers wanted to know how vaccinating for one would affect the incidence of the other.

“Vaccinating against one virus could not only affect the control of another virus, it could in fact make it easier for the other to spread,” said one of the researchers Jianhong Wu, Professor at York University in Toronto, Canada.

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The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, identifies a potentially serious public health concern.

More than a third of the world’s population lives in areas where dengue is endemic and cases of co-infection with Zika have already been reported, according to the study.

“Recent evidence suggests that dengue virus antibodies can enhance the Zika virus infection. For that reason, we developed a new math model to investigate the effect of dengue vaccination on Zika outbreaks,” Wu said.

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The team’s model showed that vaccinations for dengue increase the number of people contracting Zika.

It also showed that the more people in a particular population that are vaccinated against dengue, the earlier and larger the Zika outbreak.

The research also found that the most effective way to minimise the unintended effect of dengue vaccinations on Zika outbreaks is through an integrated strategy that includes mosquito control.

“We concluded that vaccination against dengue among humans can significantly boost Zika transmission among the population and hence call for further study on integrated control measures on controlling dengue and Zika outbreak,” Yanni Xiao, Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, said.

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The researchers noted that their findings do not discourage the development and promotion of dengue vaccine products, however, more work needs to be done to understand how to optimise dengue vaccination programmes and minimise the risk of Zika outbreaks.

Although vaccines for dengue have been developed and are in use, there is currently no vaccine for Zika. (IANS)

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FDA Gives Market Authorisation For Zika Diagnostic Test

A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorisation

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Zika, Virus, Test
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a mosquito cage at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia,Feb. 11, 2016. VOA

A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorisation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to a press release posted on the website of the university on Wednesday, using an antibody as well as other components to detect anti-Zika antibodies in the blood of people recently infected with the virus, the test can detect signs of Zika infection in serum samples within 12 weeks of infection, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Zika, Virus, Test
Scientists develop nanotechnology based test that detects Zika virus. Wikimedia Commons

The test is not meant to be used as a stand-alone proof of infection. The FDA recommends that the test be used only for people with symptoms of recent infection, as well as a history of living in or travelling to geographic regions where Zika circulates. Positive results should be confirmed in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Zika virus can cause babies to be born with devastating brain damage. But the signs of Zika infection in adults: rash, fever, headache and body aches, are nonspecific, so a pregnant woman who develops such symptoms can’t be sure if she has contracted Zika or something less risky for her fetus.

“This test, along with another that detects viral genetic material at very early stages of infection, will help women and their doctors make informed health-care decisions,” said Michael S. Diamond, a co-inventor of the technology that underlies the test and a professor of molecular microbiology and of pathology and immunology at Washington University.  (IANS)