Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biomolecular Screening
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Breakthroughs in Chikungunya Research Spell New Hope for Better Treatment and Protection

Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012
Bookmark and Share
A*STAR's SIgN have made great strides in the battle against the infectious disease.

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 characterized 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, characterized 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."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Advancing the Understanding and Research of Botulinum Neurotoxin Biology
Ipsen and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) announce the signature of a research partnership to study the intracellular trafficking of botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) within neurons.
Monday, May 16, 2016
A*STAR Scientists Discover Potential Drug for Deadly Brain Cancer
This discovery can potentially prevent the progression and relapse of deadly brain tumours.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Singapore Scientists Identify New Biomarker for Cancer in Bone Marrow
This discovery may potentially cure patients of multiple myeloma.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Discovery of the Cellular Origin of Cervical Cancer
A team of scientists have identified a unique set of cells in the cervix that are the cause of HPV related cervical cancers.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Scientific News
Breast Cancer Drug Hope
A drug for breast cancer that is more effective than existing medicines may be a step closer thanks to new research.
Harnessing Nature’s Vast Array of Venoms for Drug Discovery
Scripps scientists have developed a method for rapidly identifying venoms.
A New Platform for Discovering Antibiotics
Harvard chemists hope to shorten time, difficulty in measuring their effectiveness, potential.
The Need for Speed
Evaluating MALDI-TOF as a high-throughput screening technology for the pharmaceutical industry.
Antarctic Sponge Extract Kills MRSA
New findings may provide opportunity for developing new drugs to fight dangerous bacteria currently highly resistant to treatment.
US-India Collab Finds Molecular Signatures of Severe Malaria
Study may be a significant advancement in understanding the causes of severe malaria.
Novel Way to Prevent Deadly Bacterial Infections
Monash scientists may have found a way to stop deadly bacteria from infecting patients. The discovery could lead to a whole new way of treating antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”
Gene Expression Controls Revealed
Researchers have modelled every atom in a key part of the process for switching on genes, revealing a whole new area for potential drug targets.
An Old-New Weapon Against Emerging Chikungunya Virus
Researchers utilize existing drugs to interfere with host factors required for replication of Chikungunya virus.
Using Gene-editing Technology for Faster, Cheaper Antiviral Drug Development
UCLA scientists are working to develop special screening libraries based on a gene-editing technology called CRISPR.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!