Scientists claim that delayed appearance of IgG3 antibodies (a naturally-acquired antibody) serves as a specific biomarker that increases the risk of the more severe form of Chikungunya. This discovery by A*STAR's (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) Singapore Immunology Network could aid in early and accurate prognosis of patients at risk.Scientists led by by Dr. Lisa Ng discovered that patients who respond to the disease at the onset with high levels of IgG3 are protected from the more severe form of chikungunya fever. While, those with a delayed IgG3 response generally have less acute symptoms at the start, but are more susceptible to chronic debilitating joint pains later on.
With the help of computational experts from A*STAR's Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), the team also found that a very small defined segment of the Chikungunya viral protein, named E2EP3, was able to induce the natural IgG3 protective response in pre-clinical models.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne infectious disease endemic to Southeast Asia and Africa. There is no clinically-approved vaccine or treatment for chikungunya. It is characterised by persistent joint pain that lingers for months. Most patients recover within a week but immunocompromised patients may succumb to the disease.