Do dengue antibodies help prevent Zika virus?

The outbreaks of dengue , chikungunya and Zika in the country have attracted the attention of authorities such as the World Health Organization this year. In São Paulo alone, 250 municipalities on alert for these diseases were registered.

The cases are still being investigated, but the main reason for these events is due to the time of year, with many rains and above average temperatures, which contribute to the emergence of the transmitter, Aedes Aegypti.

However, research conducted in partnership between the Yale School of Public Health and University of Florida , published in the journal Science Daily , showed that people who have antibodies to the dengue virus may be better protected against the Zika virus.

According to the study, which looked at around 1,500 people in high-risk areas in Brazil, people who have had dengue or who are already immunized by previous vaccines have antibodies that protect the disease, reducing the risk of Zika virus infection .

The research was based on data collected between October 2014 and March 2015 in Brazil, in underserved areas in the city of Salvador, Bahia, which were affected by dengue.

The researchers compared the different stages of the disease in the country and, through research, it was observed that the greater the immunity to the dengue virus, the lower the risk of infection with Zika . This happens due to the production of antibodies in the body, which is able to duplicate these protectors.

This protection is known as cross-protection and, according to the study, is responsible for reducing by up to 9% the chances of the patient contracting the Zika virus .

Most vulnerable audience

In the study, patients who had a recent dengue infection were the most vulnerable to the Zika virus. According to the researchers, there are several possible theses for this to happen. The time when the patient was infected with dengue is one of them.

For example, if the case is very recent, patients who have had the disease may be more vulnerable to contracting Zika, since the body of these people has not yet been able to generate antibodies, leaving the body without a defense barrier for one. new virus.

There is also the possibility that there is a variation in the patient’s immune system that increases the risk of a new infection and another disease, and further studies on this are needed.

Finally, because it is the same vector (Aedes Aegypti), experts suggest that if infected with dengue once, the patient will be in an area at risk of the disease, since there is the presence of the mosquito there.

With this discovery, there is a perspective of the study to develop for other trials to study whether the vaccine used against dengue can also be used in the prevention of Zika, since there is still no specific vaccine for the disease released for use in humans.

While the authorities are researching new ways to reduce these infections, people should take precautions by eliminating the breeding sites for Aedes Aegypti.

For this, people should avoid standing water, keep the pots with plants always with sand, leave the garbage tightly closed and use repellents and protective screens. Despite being conventional measures, they are effective in prevention.

Dengue and Zika virus are infections that can be easily contracted in Brazil due to the tropical climate that favors the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of city hall visits and mosquito control measures in possible risk areas.