May 22, 2018 – Dengue Vaccine
Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:04 — 1.5MB)
Anchor lead: As global warming expands mosquito territory, a vaccine for Dengue virus is a worldwide concern, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes, and it can result in serious illness and death, especially if someone is experiencing their second infection. That’s because there are different strains of the virus and antibodies may cause a severe reaction to second infections. Now this fact is constraining how the world’s only Dengue vaccine can be used. Mike Klag, former dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains.
Klag: Flavaviruses in general can be very serious and Dengue is an especially wily culprit because of these different serotypes. So we know that in certain settings this vaccine works and we have to do better at identifying those people who fit that criteria. The key thing in using this vaccine wisely is to know whether there’s evidence of infection or not. So people are working feverishly on developing new assays for antibodies. More sensitive, more specific antibodies to know that there’s been a Dengue infection and that it’s safe to give the vaccine. :29
Klag says global warming makes an effective vaccine for Dengue a priority globally. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.