A study of cellular immune responses in humans against dengue virus (DENV) to inform vaccine development.
This project is in collaboration with:
Laboratorio de Salud Pública, Jurisdicción Número 8, Lázaro Cárdenas, México
Vaccines save about 2.5 million lives every year; highly effective vaccines against variable pathogens such as dengue virus (DENV) could double this number. Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world; current estimates indicate an astonishing 390 million infections every year, with Mexico presenting 6.3% of the cases. Dengue affects a large number of people from a substantial at-risk population, and hampers social and economic development, both in Mexico and worldwide.
Despite ongoing research, there are currently no licensed vaccines to prevent dengue infection. Most DENV vaccines in clinical development aim to induce protective antibodies to cover all four serotypes of the virus, but have shown disappointing efficacy. A novel approach, developed by Arturo Reyes-Sandoval's group, aims to stimulate the T-cell response, the other branch of the immune system. This approach targets the Achilles heel of the dengue virus: its most essential and conserved parts, which do not change regardless of serotype. We have developed a bioinformatics approach to uncover the most conserved parts of DENV, and have designed an immunogen to be used as a universal vaccine to protect against all four strains.
We are currently investigating whether this immunogen is truly universal. To address this question, we will establish the infrastructure and lay the basis to allow an analysis of blood samples from infected people living in diverse areas of Mexico, and determine if their immune system reacts against the newly developed dengue immunogen. This proposal will support establishing a network to create and support the environment for the study.