Raising hope for the development of effective dengue treatment, researchers have identified a super-potent antibody which requires a minute amount to neutralise the virus.
Only nine-10 g of antibody 5J7 is needed to stop the infection of dengue serotype 3 virus (DENV-3), the findings showed.
"We are optimistic that we will make a treatment breakthrough within these few years but antibodies against all the other serotypes have to be identified first," said senior author Shee Mei Lok from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
Over the last 50 years, the incidence of dengue virus has increased by 30 times worldwide. However, till now, there is no licensed dengue vaccine or therapeutic agent due to the presence of four circulating virus serotypes (DENV1-4) complicating their development, the study noted.
In this recent study, researchers isolated 5J7 from 200 different candidate antibody molecules by studying blood samples from a dengue-infected patient.
By examining the virus-antibody complex structure at very high magnification, they showed that each arm of the antibody is surprisingly effective in grabbing three surface proteins on the surface of the virus at the same time.
"The movement of virus surface proteins is highly essential for invading cells – you can think of antibody 5J7 locking the virus surface proteins, thus strapping the virus," she pointed out.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.