First in-person Dengue Alliance Meeting brings together experts from dengue-endemic countries to develop treatments for a growing viral threat, Faridabad, India, 6-7 February 2023
The first in-person Dengue Alliance Meeting took place in India on February 6-7, 2023, with experts and scientists from India, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil and Switzerland present to kick-off plans to develop treatments for this climate-sensitive disease which causes substantial morbidity and mortality globally. Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) hosted the meeting at its premises.
The Dengue Alliance, launched in 2022, is a global partnership led by institutions from dengue-endemic countries that aims to develop affordable and accessible treatments for dengue. The members of this alliance include the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), India, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand, Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Ministry of Health, Malaysia, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) Brazil and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, Switzerland.
The number of Dengue cases reported to World Health Organisation (WHO) increased over eight folds over the last two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000 to over 2.4 million in 2010, and 5.2 million in 2019. Yet, there is no treatment available for this wide spreading mosquito-borne viral disease.
At their first in-person meeting, members of the alliance reported on their collaborative efforts to develop urgently needed treatments through repurposed drugs.
- The Pre-clinical Working Group of the alliance has carried out in-vitro studies on 23 antiviral compounds and has already short-listed candidates, which are being tested in animal models. The data of these antivirals compounds was reviewed in the meeting and additional work to be carried out was planned. The working group also short listed two host direct therapies ( HDTs) that can be taken forward for assessment and these trials are likely to be initiated at the end of this year.
- The Clinical Working group of the Alliance discussed trial design for antivirals and HDTs, as well as clinical end-points for the trial protocol.
- The Joint Steering Committee, which is the governing body of the Dengue Alliance discussed timelines of the planned clinical trials and discussed identifying potential biomarkers and better point of care diagnostics.
Finally, a briefing meeting was also organised with Dr Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Secretary of the Department of Health Research and Dr. Alka Sharma, Managing Director, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to give them an update about the dengue alliance strategy for the development of a treatment solution in whic WHO -South East Asia Regional Office representatives also participated. Dr. Bahl and Dr. Sharma appreciated the efforts of the Dengue Alliance and ensured their full support in this endeavour.