"The research shows that the virus causing dengue fever and other closely related viruses like West Nile and Japanese encephalitis use instructions encoded on a single strand of RNA to take over an infected cell and reproduce," said Jeffrey S. Kieft, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at University of Colorado's school of medicine.
The viruses also use an enzyme that cells use to kill RNA. The cells instead produce short stretches of RNA that may help the virus protect itself from the immune system of its host. The RNA then resists the enzyme which can 'chew it', making the enzyme useless.
"This is the first time this sort of RNA structure has been observed and it has characteristics that may be amenable to targeting by new drugs," researchers said.
Over 40 per cent of people across the globe face the risk of being bitten by infected mosquitoes that cause dengue fever.
Some of the symptoms for dengue are headaches, pain and fever. In some cases, tiny blood vessels in the body begin to leak.
Rain and wet winter usually increase cases of dengue as the mosquito gets favourable environment to breed. According to the World Health Organisation, over 2.5 billion people in the world face the risk of suffering from dengue.
The findings were published in journals eLife and Science.