Antibody for Dengue Fever serotype found

Dengue Virus particles
Dengue Virus particles | Courtesy of the CDC

A potent antibody that is able to neutralize the Dengue virus has been discovered by a Duke and National University of Singapore (NUS) study, the schools announced Friday.

The study was published in the Nature Communications journal and indicated that antibody 5J7 is effective against the virus's third serotype, DENV-3. With this breakthrough, effective treatments for the disease will be more likely to come to fruition.

Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School-Singapore Associate Professor Shee Mei Lok was the lead researcher of the laboratory that has been focusing on the dengue virus' structure in order to help develop therapeutic measures. Her research in this case studied the way antibodies bind to infective agents.

"This kind of binding with the virus has never been observed and it explains why the antibody itself is so highly potent." Lok said. "The movement of virus surface proteins is highly essential for invading cells -- you can think of antibody 5J7 locking the virus surface proteins, thus strapping the virus."

There are two serotypes, DNEV-1 and DENV-3, that have effective antibodies in neutralizing the virus. The end goal for this research would be to combine antibodies that are effective against the four known serotypes. Currently DENV-2 and DENV-4 remain to be considered. According to the release, antibodies can bind with other virus serotypes after neutralizing an initial threat that can result in secondary infection. If the antibodies match the serotype, the individual will have immunity against that specific serotype.