The main aim of the DENFRAME project is to improve the management of dengue disease in the human populations of Latin America and Asia. Dengue has emerged as the most important vector-borne viral disease in tropical areas. The four serotypes of dengue virus (DV) each cause human disease and are transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Epidemics with a high frequency of a severe, life-threatening illness known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) continue to expand geographically. The disease burden is estimated to be up to 100 millions of cases every year, including over 500,000 cases of DHF and about 25,000 fatal cases, mainly in children under the age of 15. Despite the increased health and economic impact of dengue, there are as yet no specific preventive or therapeutic interventions. There is an urgent need for reliable rapid diagnostic and new therapeutic tools for people at risk of DV infection.
The Consortium will be constituted of a framework of 13 partners based in Asia (4), Europe (5) and Latin America (4). Our project will include two complementary workprogrammes:
- The first one concentrates on the standardization and validation of the current diagnostic assays, the development of new diagnostic tools (including biosensor technology) and the implementation of procedures to validate these new diagnostic tools. A key component of this workprogramme is the collection of field strains of DV associated with well-characterized clinical data and biological samples,
- The second workprogramme aims to develop an integrated approach towards understanding the DV-host interaction that focuses on key components of innate immunity to DV infection, and to identify potential therapeutic agents (small molecule inhibitors). To identify lead compounds with anti-DV activity, two existing libraries will be used for screening: one based in Europe and one based in Asia (compounds isolated from the Chinese Traditional Medicine).
The tasks will be carried out by the concerted efforts of the different groups with complementary skills and experience. This multidisciplinary strategy will establish the framework to implement new diagnostic tools and test future therapeutic molecules, and represents a critical new collaborative approach that will underpin on-going efforts to combat this major public health problem.