In a step to combat the rising mosquito menace cases of Dengue and Chikungunya cases, scientists are working on new ways to kill the mosquitoes that carry these viruses.
A recent research, published in PLOS NTDs journal reveals that mosquito sliva can stop the transmission of dengue virus in human cells. Certain types of protein present in the Aedes aegypti’s saliva binds the dengue virus (DENV) and inhibit its transmission to human cells and mice, says a study.
Antibodies against the saliva protein ‘D7’, which are present in humans when exposed to mosquito bites, might facilitate virus transmission and enhance disease severity.
Working on ways to reduce DENV transmission, lead researcher Michael Conway, explored how best to target the mosquito saliva protein to block transmission of DENV.
This strategy has advantages compared with vaccines based on viral proteins because it does not need to take into account different circulating DENV strains or adapt to rapidly evolving viruses.
The researchers had previously isolated proteins from salivary glands of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya viruses and tested batches of proteins to see if they could either enhance or block DENV transmission to human cells.
The researchers said, “The results support that D7 protein mediates its antiviral effect through direct protein-protein interaction, although it is possible that modulation of the inflammatory response also occurs in vivo.”
D7 proteins can provoke strong immune responses and individuals exposed to mosquitoes have high levels of anti-D7 antibodies.
Because these antibodies likely inhibit D7 protein function, the researchers speculate that “although anti-D7 antibodies may prevent efficient blood feeding by a mosquito, they may also enhance disease transmission and disease severity,” the researchers said.
Adding, “Characterizing the complex interplay of virus-vector-host interactions,” they conclude, “will lead to the development of better models of pathogenesis, strategies to limit disease transmission, and promote the development of therapeutics and transmission-blocking vaccines.”