20 genes that can predict severity of dengue identified

Dengue does not affect everyone in the same way, some patients recover fast while some take time and heavy dose medicines. Scientists say that the severity of dengue depends on the genes inherited from forefathers.

A team of US researchers have decoded why dengue affects each individual differently and the key lies in the genes. The team from Stanford University of the US which includes an Indian-origin scientist reported in their Cell Report Journal about 20 genes that play a major role in the development of dengue in an individual. The presence of these 20 genes and their configuration can depict the toll the dengue virus (DENV) will have on one’s body with about 80% accuracy. In scientific terms, different ‘gene-expression pattern’ is the reason why some patients require immediate help and some can recover with fluid-intake existing medicines.

According to the World Health Organization dengue has increased 30 folds in the past 5 decades and India has definitely faced the brunt of it. In 2017, more than 188,401 cases were reported. This expansion has reasons like lack of vector controls, unplanned urbanisation, construction blocks, guttered roof and environmental factors to thank for. In fact, it is not rare to find Indians who have witnessed this vector borne attacking them or their known ones. Given this unprecedented hike, this study could be a path breaker in the field of medicine. It overcomes the barrier of the lengthy laboratory tests, which take days to show results and thereby, prevent a number of untimely deaths.