A new study by a team of Korean researchers suggests that Covid-19 antibodies may cross-react with dengue virus and enhance its infection. The study, which has not been peer reviewed, was published on the preprint server bioRxiv. The researchers claim that this is the first study to demonstrate such a phenomenon.
How Covid-19 antibodies may affect dengue severity
The researchers performed experiments with human cells and serum samples from Covid-19 patients. They found that anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could bind to DENV-2 (dengue virus 2), one of the four serotypes of dengue virus, without neutralizing it. This could potentially help the virus enter cells more efficiently through a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE is known to increase the risk of severe dengue, which can cause hemorrhagic fever and shock.
What are the implications of the study
The study has important implications for public health, especially in regions where both Covid-19 and dengue are prevalent. The researchers suggest that people who have had Covid-19 may be more susceptible to severe dengue if they are exposed to DENV-2. They also recommend that Covid-19 vaccines should be tested for their potential to induce cross-reactive antibodies against dengue virus.
However, the study has some limitations and needs further validation. The researchers only tested one serotype of dengue virus, and did not use live virus or animal models. They also did not measure the clinical outcomes of dengue infection in Covid-19 patients. Therefore, more research is needed to confirm the findings and understand the mechanisms behind them.
How to prevent Covid-19 and dengue co-infection
Until more evidence is available, experts advise people to take precautions to prevent both Covid-19 and dengue infections. These include:
- Getting vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible
- Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing to avoid Covid-19 transmission
- Using insect repellents and wearing protective clothing to avoid mosquito bites that can spread dengue
- Seeking medical attention if symptoms of either disease develop, such as fever, headache, rash, or bleeding