Purpose of review: Dengue is a rapidly spreading vector-borne disease estimated to infect 400 million people worldwide. To date, there are no licensed treatments or vaccines. The last few years have seen significant developments in dengue control strategies. In this review, we will address four key areas: vaccines, vector control, antivirals and immunotherapeutics.
Recent findings: The first generation of dengue vaccines is able to induce good serological responses in test individuals. However, the recent Sanofi-Pasteur trial in Thailand found that a good serological response did not correlate with clinical protection. This trial did not demonstrate an increase in cases of severe disease following immunization, suggesting that concerns over vaccine-related immune enhancement may have been overcome. The bacterium Wolbachia appears to control dengue proliferation in Aedes mosquitoes, and field studies are underway. A large number of antivirals are in early-stage development and may prove useful in epidemics. Monoclonal antibodies have been postulated to have a clinical role. Whether their clinical application is feasible has yet to be seen.
Summary: Marked improvements in our knowledge of dengue have been made over the recent years. Sadly, clinical application remains some years away.