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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

India : Why some battle dengue better

Via Times of India :

" Scientists have for the first time discovered a part of our immune system that is involved in getting rid of dengue viruses, and also determines a person's ability to fight off the disease.
Worldwide, dengue fever strikes roughly 50 million people every year and takes the lives of thousands, but specific therapies or a vaccine for this mosquito-borne illness remain unavailable.

Today, 2.5 billion people are at risk from dengue fever and from dengue hemorrhagic fever, a lethal complication of infection. Despite the high infection rates, there are currently no specific treatments for dengue fever and no vaccine to prevent infection with the dengue virus.

Many scientists who study the disease have been searching for ways to boost the human immune response to dengue so that it does not gain a foothold in the body.

Researchers from Washington University, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, report a new finding that a part of the immune system called mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is involved in targeting dengue viruses for destruction.

MBL recognizes sugar molecules present on the outsides of many different kinds of viruses and bacteria. When it finds these sugars, MBL activates the complement system, which targets foreign materials in the body for destruction in any of a number of cruel ways. Scientists have known that the complement system takes a hit during dengue infection, but until now no one knew that it also plays a role in getting rid of dengue viruses."

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