COVID-19 Study Suggests Dengue Fever Antibodies Might Provide Some Protection From Coronavirus

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Some researchers from Duke University have found some interesting data regarding dengue fever and the coronavirus outbreak as they were analyzing the pandemic in Brazil. This country had major dengue fever outbreaks in the last couple of years. 

coronavirus COVID-19 dengue fever antibodies protection

(Photo : ERIC GAILLARD / REUTERS)
Researchers found an interesting connection between dengue fever and COVID-19.

Dengue Fever and COVID-19

In an exclusive report by Reuters, the researchers have found a link between dengue fever and COVID-19 and suggested that those exposed to the mosquito-transmitted disease may have some immunity from the new virus.

The paper, which hasn't been released yet, was headed by Duke University professor of neuroscience Miguel Nicolelis.

Based on the report, Nicolelis and his colleagues compared the coronavirus pandemic's geographic distribution with the dengue fever outbreaks that happened between 2019 and 2020.

From what they gathered, the places that had major dengue fever outbreaks during the past couple of years have shown low and slower infection rates of COVID-19, leading the scientists to believe that the dengue fever antibodies may offer some sort of protection against the virus.

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Could Dengue Provide Coronavirus Protection?

coronavirus COVID-19 dengue fever antibodies protection

(Photo : UFPB / REUTERS)
The researchers shared a comparison of geographical distribution of both diseases.

"This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue's Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2," the researchers wrote. "If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection against the coronavirus."

According to the Daily Mail, the antibodies that come after exposure to dengue fever may prevent COVID-19 infection or even neutralize the virus.

Furthermore, Nicolelis also said that previous studies have shown that people who have been exposed to dengue fever in the most recent past have actually tested falsely positive to the virus even if they haven't been exposed to it.

Although Brazil stands on the third spot of countries with the highest coronavirus infections after the US and India, the researchers found that in some states such as Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, which experienced massive dengue fever outbreaks last year and earlier this year, have taken longer to reach the same level of community transmission compared to states Maranhão and Amapá, which had fewer dengue fever cases.

Besides Brazil, the researchers have also found the same pattern in other Latin American countries as well as in Asia and the islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

A Surprising Connection

No one really expected any interaction between the two, with Nicolelis even saying the discovery was "an accident."

Scientists are still surprised by the link as the dengue virus, which comes from a particular species of mosquitoes, as well as the novel coronavirus, came from two completely different families.

Nevertheless, the professor said it does happen with science.

According to the exclusive report, the paper will be published ahead of peer review in the pre-print website MedRxiv, but it will still undergo the necessary process, so it will be published in a scientific journal.

Nicolelis did say further studies will be required to establish the connection between dengue fever and COVID-19 immunity.

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Written by: Nhx Tingson

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