Navigation Links
Breakthroughs in Chikungunya research from A*STAR spell new hope for better treatment and protection
Date:3/14/2012

Recent breakthroughs in Chikungunya research spearheaded by scientists at A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) have made great strides in the battle against the infectious disease. Working in close collaborations with Singapore clinician-scientists and international researchers , Dr Lisa Ng, Principal Investigator of the Chikungunya research group at SIgN, led the team to discover a direct biomarker which serves as an early and accurate prognosis of patients who have a higher risk of the more severe form of Chikungunya fever (CHIKF). This means that doctors can now quickly and accurately identify patients at risk, facilitating a more targetted treatment and clinical care at the onset of the disease.

Chikungunya fever, caused by the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) , is a mosquito-borne, infectious disease endemic to Southeast Asia and Africa. Since its re-emergence in 2005, CHIKV infection has spread to nearly 20 countries to infect millions . Singapore, for instance, was hit twice by Chikungunya fever outbreaks in January and August 2008.

CHIKV infection is characterised by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by severe muscle and joint pains. Though most patients recover fully within a week, in severe cases, the joint pains may persist for months, or even years. For individuals with a weak immune system, the disease can result in death. With no clinically-approved vaccine or treatment for Chikungunya fever, it remains a worrying public health problem.

To devise strategies to stop CHIKV transmission, Dr Ng's team collaborated with Professor Leo Yee Sin and Dr Angela Chow, clinician-scientists from the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital , to study how the human body responds to CHIKV infection. The team conducted a comprehensive study on the antibody response against CHIKV in patients. They discovered that patients who respond to the disease at the onset with high levels of Immunoglobulin G3 (IgG3), a naturally-acquired antibody, are protected from the more severe form of Chikungunya fever, characterised by persistent joint pains. On the other hand, patients with a delayed IgG3 response generally have less acute symptoms at the start, but are more susceptible to chronic debilitating joint pains at later stage of the disease. Hence, the IgG3 antibodies serve as a specific biomarker of patients with increased risk of the severe form of the disease.

Collaborating with computational experts from A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), Dr Ng's team also uncovered that a very small defined segment of the Chikungunya viral protein, named "E2EP3", was able to induce the natural IgG3 protective response in preclinical models. They found that mice vaccinated with the E2EP3 peptides were protected against CHIKV with significant reduction in viral counts and joint inflammation. This finding raises hope for a new effective Chikungunya vaccine that can offer protection against Chikungunya virus in the event of an outbreak.

Dr Ng said, "Long-term treatment required for the chronic joint pain in Chikungunya-infected patients places social and economic burden for both patients and the public healthcare system. We are excited that the mechanistic insights gained through our collaborative research with the local hospitals and international research partners have led to discovery of 'new weapons' to tackle Chikungunya more effectively."

Scientific Director of SIgN, Professor Paola Castagnoli said, "With increasing threat of Chikungunya virus infection, particularly in Asia and the Pacific region, this significant breakthrough is a step forward in enhancing our pandemic preparedness against the infectious disease. This is a testament to the successful collaborations between research scientists and clinicians in translating scientific discoveries into impactful healthcare solutions for the benefit of Singapore and beyond. "


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Sarah Chang KC
chang_kai_chen@a-star.edu.sg
65-682-66442
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. DOE researchers achieve important genetic breakthroughs to help develop cheaper biofuels
2. Argonne scientists awarded supercomputing time to enable scientific breakthroughs
3. IEEE-USA cites 5 engineering breakthroughs
4. Understanding global climate change through new breakthroughs in polar research
5. Bio-optics breakthroughs: Highlights of medical and bioscience research at Frontiers in Optics 2009
6. Key to future medical breakthroughs is systems biology, say leading European scientists
7. Experimental vaccine protects monkeys against chikungunya
8. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
9. Scripps Research discoveries lead to newly approved drug for infant respiratory distress syndrome
10. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
11. Research on flavanols and procyanidins provides new insights into how these phytonutrients may positively impact human health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/22/2016)... YORK , December 22, 2016 ... provider of secure solutions for the e-Government, Public Safety, HealthCare, and ... subsidiary of SuperCom, has been selected to implement and deploy a ... in Northern California , further expanding its presence ... ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... , Dec. 16, 2016   IdentyTechSolutions ... Identity management products and solutions and a cutting-edge ... today that it is offering seamless, integrated solutions ... security entrance products. The solutions provide IdentyTech,s customers ... secure their facilities from crime and theft. ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen ... publicly held genomics technology company, announced today that on ... Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ... closing bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been ... Accordingly, WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... Ca (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... events for tech innovators, engineers, and scientists from around the world, was today ... News. The awards program is based entirely on merit and decided upon by ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... BETHESDA, Md. , Jan. 18, 2017  Northwest ... company developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for operable and ... Marnix Bosch , Chief Technical Officer of NW Bio, ... Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ... Dr. Bosch will chair the session entitled "New Therapeutic ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... According to a new market research report "In situ Hybridization Market ... User (Molecular Diagnostic Laboratories, Academic and Research Institutions) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... 2021 from USD 557.1 Million in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 5.8%. ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... Executive search firm Slone Partners proudly ... to the advancement of the clinical trials segment. Hosted in Miami, this conference ... planning and management. , As executive talent specialists in the industries central ...
Breaking Biology Technology: