Studies suggest Dengue may provide immunity against COVID-19

Henrietta Strickland
September 24, 2020

Experts said that people who are infected but have no symptoms may have "comparable potential" for spreading the virus as those who have symptoms - including fever, a new and persistent cough and a new loss or change of taste or smell.

A new study that analyzed the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil has found a link between the spread of the virus and past outbreaks of dengue fever, suggesting exposure to the mosquito-transmitted illness may provide some level of immunity against COVID-19. It turned out that residents of places with lower rates of coronavirus infection and a slower increase in incidence have experienced intense outbreaks of dengue this and past year.

This means it is possible that dengue fever antibodies may prevent infection from - and may neutralize - the coronavirus.

"This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue's Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2", the study said, referring to dengue virus antibodies and the novel coronavirus.

The earliest information about the Dengue outbreak dates back to 1779, but scientists were able to establish the viral cause only at the beginning of the 20th century.

The results are interesting because some previous studies have shown that people with dengue antibodies in their blood can test falsely positive for COVID-19 even if the coronavirus has never infected them, Nicolelis told Reuters.

"This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between (the) two viruses that nobody could have expected, because the two viruses are from completely different families", Prof Nicolelis said, adding that further studies are needed to prove the connection.

"Our data add further support to the general public use of face masks, regardless of the presence of symptoms, and suggest that the scope of SARS-CoV-2 testing should be expanded to include asymptomatic individuals in high-risk settings, such as nursing homes or healthcare facilities".

The study noted significant negative correlations between COVID-19's incidence, infection growth rate, and mortality to the percentage of people with dengue antibodies.

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.

According to the World Health Organization, if the infection progresses to be 'severe dengue, ' it can be life-threatening.

Brazil has the world's third highest total of COVID-19 infections with more than 4.4 million cases - behind only the United States and India.

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.

While some people who contract the novel coronavirus never experience any symptoms, there remains disagreement about what proportion of total infections these cases represent.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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