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For the First Time, Indian Scientists May Come up With a Dengue DNA Vaccine: Report

By: News Desk


Last Updated: September 28, 2021, 10:57 IST

Two people have died of dengue this season. (Representational photo: PTI)

Two people have died of dengue this season. (Representational photo: PTI)

The study to develop vaccine against dengue comes at a time when Centre has issued a warning to 11 states against dengue strain.

Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine for Covid-19 is now being considered as a model to develop a shot for dengue based on the same formula. This comes as Centre has issued a warning to 11 states against dengue strain. The Delhi government has already swung into action and launched ’10 Hafte-10 Baje-10 Minute’ (10 weeks, 10 o’clock, 10 minutes) campaign to curb the spread.

“We know that there are four serotypes of the virus, but what we found was that there were genetic variations within the serotypes — any sequence with over 6% difference is considered to be a different genotype. So, the team created a consensus sequence that is the same across the genotypes as well,” said Dr Easwaran Sreekumar, senior scientist at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology-Thiruvananthapuram and one of the corresponding authors of the yet-to-be peer-reviewed paper uploaded on MedRxiv, reported by Hindustan Times.

Meanwhile, last week, the Centre has asked 11 states reporting cases of serotype – II dengue, which is a more detrimental form of the disease, to ensure implementation of preventive measures ahead of the festive season and spread necessary awareness among people about the virus.

The 11 states that are reeling under DEN-2 virus are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

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The Union health ministry, in a press release, asked the states to ensure “necessary precautions and effective enforcement for avoidance of mass gathering and congested closed spaces” and to strictly follow guidelines regarding malls, local markets, and places of worship.

The health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, directed the states to ensure early detection of dengue cases, begin helplines and launch widespread awareness campaigns, stock up on adequate testing kits, larvicides, and medicines, the Hindustan Times reported.

Dengue infections are caused by four closely related viruses called serotypes. Each of these four viruses (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4) has different interactions with the antibodies in human blood serum.

Dengue serotype 2 viruses have the potential to cause dengue hemorrhagic fever and have been shown to belong to the Southeast (SE) Asian genotype.

The Dengue virus belongs to the family Flaviviridae and comprises the four antigenically distinct serotypes. Human infections are acquired by the bite of the mosquito, usually by Aedes aegypti, and often present as a self-limited febrile illness, dengue fever.

During a review of the Covid-19 situation, the states were asked to implement control measures during the festive season, monitor infections in children as schools reopen as well as breakthrough infections.

The Union Health Ministry has asked the states to deploy rapid response teams for the “emerging challenge” to investigate new cases and take up survey of patients in the area, trace contact, and arrest the breeding of mosquitos. State have also been asked to stock enough blood and blood components such as platelets that critical patients may need.

Besides, the Centre has also directed the states to monitor infections in children as schools reopen.

Bhushan said that there were 70 districts across 15 states that were reporting over 5% positivity rate and 34 districts have reported a positivity rate of over 10%.

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first published:September 28, 2021, 10:49 IST
last updated:September 28, 2021, 10:57 IST