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Discovery of New Targets May Aid Fight Against Dengue Fever

Using a genome-wide RNA interference screen in Drosophila cells, researchers have identified 116 genes that are potential host factors for the mosquito-borne Dengue viruses that cause Dengue fever. Such host factors aid propagation of the Denque virus, and it is suggested that inhibitors of these host factors might interfere with this propagation. Dengue fever is the most frequent insect-borne viral disease of humans, and the virus sickens 50 million to 100 million people, and kills approximately 20,000 people, each year. There are presently no specific drugs to treat this painful and sometimes fatal disease, with only palliative treatment available. This work was carried out by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center, and collaborating institutions, and published in the April 22 issue of Nature. [NIH press release] [Nature abstract]