Researchers have claimed that the dengue virus has developed to optimise its ability in order to cause outbreaks as it travels across the globe to new places and revisits old ones.
Dengue virus has been spreading throughout warm regions of the world, prompting the virus to adapt to new environments. This diversification in viral strains has resulted in the development of strains that appear associated with greater potential for sparking epidemics.
Until now, the mechanisms governing how and why some viral strains are better suited for causing widespread disease has been poorly understood.
The investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch have examined different clades of dengue virus-2 that are known to be circulating around Puerto Rico in 1994 when a severe epidemic broke out.
During the research, they identified an interaction between the newcomer virus’s RNA and proteins within the host that allows the virus to bypass the host’s immune response, making it easier for the virus to invade.
Professor Mariano Garcia-Blanco said that this study highlights the critical and oft forgotten role played by non-coding RNAs in the battle between viruses and their human hosts.
He added that it emphasised the importance of multidisciplinary research, a fabulous marriage of basic RNA biology and clinically informed epidemiology uncovered an unexpected route of virus evolution that explained epidemic potential.
In India, though the official reported cases of dengue are inadequate, yet reports claim that some 20,500 people suffer from this disease each year.
Moreover, this disease costs India nearly 7 crore every year but according to arecent research no serious measures are being taken to control it.
The research is published in Journal Science.