A peek behind the paper – Muhammad Faheem on dengue virus proteins as potential drug targets

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Take a look behind the scenes of a recent Future Virology editorial entitled, ‘An insight into dengue virus proteins as potential drug/vaccine targets’, as we ask author Muhammad Faheem about recent advances in understanding dengue proteins and where the next 5–10 years could take us.

What inspired you to write this piece?

I have been reading about dengue since 2010, and I have published information about its pathogenesis, prevalence and vaccine strategies. Since then, I felt there is a gap with regards to concise information about all the proteins of dengue. It has pushed me to compile all this information and to give readers a simple way to understand dengue proteins.

Why are new vaccine and drug targets needed for dengue virus?

Dengue is an RNA virus with four serotypes and exposed to mutations constantly. This makes it vulnerable to escape vaccine immunization. Therefore, new vaccines and drug targets are important against this notorious virus.

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What are the recent advances in understanding dengue proteins?

The basic information for dengue proteins are already being published. Meanwhile, new information is coming. Many structural studies on dengue proteins have provided deep insight in understanding their function.

What unknowns are there for targeting dengue proteins?

There are many reports of drug targets for dengue with a few in clinical trials. It would be interesting if proteins from all four serotypes are studied and compared. It would be an interesting insight to design a target drug valid for all the serotypes.

What are your predictions for next 10–15 years in this field? What do you hope to see?

I am hopeful that in the coming few years, there will be an effective tetravalent vaccine available in the market. I also believe drugs that are currently in clinical trials will pass and be marketed to treat dengue.

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