- A new dengue virus has been confirmed in India
- The Asian genotype of DENV-1 was found in virus isolates drawn from the blood sample of dengue-infected patients
- The Asian genotype was seen only in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
For the first time in India, a new dengue virus has been confirmed. Scientists at Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) were the ones who spotted it and have been tracking it ever since.
Scientists said that the new virus, which is of an Asian genotype was found to be linked to severe and extensive epidemics in Singapore during 2005, Sri Lanka in 2009, Tamil Nadu in 2012 and Kerala in 2013.
‘The Asian genotype of DENV-1 was found in virus isolates drawn from the blood sample of dengue-infected patients and was seen only in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.’
The results were published in a research paper, 'Emergence of the Asian genotype of DENV-1 in South India', in the peer-reviewed journal Virology
In India, there are about four distinct types that are circulating:
- Dengue virus type 1 (DENV-1),
- Dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2),
- Dengue virus type 3 (DENV-3), and
- Dengue virus type 4 (DENV-4)
In southern India, the Asian genotype of DENV-1 was found in virus isolates drawn from the blood sample of dengue-infected patients.
The American-African genotype of DENV-1 has been in circulation since the 1940s in India, and these findings do not suggest that Asian genotype has become more prevalent than the other.
Both the types of DENV-1 were found to be still cocirculating in Tamil Nadu and Kerala,
Dengue Virus in Other States
Experts have studied samples from Maharashtra and Delhi and found no change in the genotypes of the four dengue virus types.
Devendra Mourya, senior scientist, director of NIV, told TOI.DENV-1 was the predominant virus in the 2012 outbreak in TN said, "The Asian genotype was responsible for epidemics in Singapore during 2005 and in Sri Lanka during 2009. This genotype was not found earlier in India. It is a new entrant to India."
The Asian genotype was seen only in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Mourya said, "All the dengue virus one that was genetically studied or sequenced by NIV scientists belonged to the Asian genotype. However, we have not tested all the samples so we cannot say that the Asian genotype has completely replaced the earlier genotype of dengue virus 1."
Scientists at the same time, studied the genetic makeup of the virus in Maharashtra and Delhi and found no change in the genotypes of the four dengue virus types.
Scientists are also studying some other states to find out if the Asian genotype of DENV-1 is present in these regions.
What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever, a disease caused by mosquitoes infected by the dengue virus. It is prevalent in the tropical regions of the world.
Dengue is a painful, disabling disease, where the pain is similar to that of bones breaking, so it is also known as 'Breakbone' fever.
Every year, it affects nearly 400 million people worldwide, and 40 percent of the world's population is at risk of exposure and infection.
There are no antiviral drugs or injections available to cure the disease. Dengue fever treatment or management involves plenty of supportive care, which could eventually help save the patient's life.