Early diagnosis crucial for Dengue identification and treatment: Dr. Navin Khanna, Sr. Scientist, ICGEB

Indraneel Chakrabarty: An early diagnostic test of Dengue is available in India, and that can be vital in identification and treatment from the vector-borne disease, says Dr Navin Khanna (Padmashri awardee), creator of Dengue Day 1 kit and Senior Scientist and Group Leader of the Recombinant Gene Products Laboratory at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi. Dengue cases are rapidly rising in New Delhi, with 129 infections being reported in just a week; the cases have crossed the 500-mark in the national capital.

While speaking exclusively to The Quotes, Dr Navin Khanna, creator of the Dengue-Kit 1, stressed upon the importance of not letting the stagnant water stay for more than a day. “India remains the epicentre for dengue infection in the world. It’s a big country, so it’s our responsibility to control the vector population. Numbers are always increasing, given the global warming, increased population density, proximity to people. The time after rain is very crucial, we need to keep a close watch on every potholes and areas in our society which are not connect with drains,” Dr Khanna told The Quotes.

Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra are the other states which have reported a spike in dengue cases. The cases in Uttarakhand are increasing rapidly as the figures breached the 500-mark on Monday, with Dehradun (capital) logging the maximum number of cases. A total of 37 infections were reported from Uttarakhand in a single day. By September 17, West Bengal reported 566 new dengue cases, with most of the cases reported in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Murshidabad, South 24 Parganas and Darjeeling districts.

“Government is doing everything it needs to. Dengue is caused by four viruses – Dengue I, II, III and IV. Within each of these genotypes are different genotypes which are smaller variations of each of these viruses. Of these, Dengue IV is the less prevalent and the mildest. In India, the most damaging is the Dengue I, II and III viruses,” said Dr Khanna in conversation with The Quotes.

“We have proudly designed a new dengue vaccine candidate, which can stimulate an immune response to neutralize all four dengue viruses. It is considered very safe, effective and affordable. Presently it takes four different products and mixes them because the vaccines have to be tetravalent. What we’ve designed is using a Recombinant DNA technology to put 4 in 1 virus particles, each of which has the business ends of each of Dengue I, II, III and IV stitched together, which takes only one downstream processing, which means the affordability is good.

“While the rest of the world is working on virus-based vaccines, we have designed a vaccine devoid of disease-enhancing activity. We have a global patent on this design. Sun Pharma is working on the clinical development of this vaccine,” concluded Dr Navin Khanna.

[The writer can be reached out at arnw_ind@outlook.com)]

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