People who have had dengue are twice as likely to develop symptoms of Covid-19 if they are infected by the novel coronavirus, states a new study.
The study by the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil detected the presence of antibodies against dengue virus and SARS-CoV-2 in blood samples from 1,285 inhabitants of Mancio Lima, a small town in the state of Acre, part of Brazil's Amazon region.
“Our results show that the populations most exposed to dengue, possibly owing to socio-demographic factors, are precisely those that most risk falling sick if they're infected by SARS-CoV-2. This is an example of what has been called a syndemic (synergic interaction between two epidemic diseases so that one exacerbates the effects of the other),” principal investigator Marcelo Urbano Ferreira, Professor at the varsity's Biomedical Sciences Institute (ICB-USP) said. “On one hand, Covid-19 has hindered efforts to control dengue. On the other hand, the latter appears to increase the risk for those who contract the former,” Ferreira added.
There may be a biological basis for the phenomenon, in the sense that antibodies against the dengue virus somehow exacerbate Covid-19, or it may simply be due to socio-demographic factors that make certain population groups more vulnerable to both diseases for various reasons, according to the researcher published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2021.