Rio de Janeiro: A new study suggests that exposure to the mosquito-transmitted Dengue fever may provide some level of immunity against COVID-19.
The not yet published study led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, compared the geographic distribution of coronavirus cases with the spread of dengue in Brazil in 2019 and 2020, news agency Reuters reported.
The study found that places with lower coronavirus infection rates and slower case growth were locations that had suffered intense dengue outbreaks last or this year.
“This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue’s Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2,” Nicolelis said, referring to dengue virus antibodies and the novel coronavirus.
“If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection against the coronavirus,” he added.
The researcher said the results are particularly interesting because previous studies have shown that people with dengue antibodies in their blood can test falsely positive for COVID-19 antibodies even if they have never been infected by the coronavirus.
He, however, added that further studies are needed to prove the connection.
The study is being published ahead of peer review on the MedRxiv preprint server and will be submitted to a scientific journal.