What is Dengue?

There is a record of cases of this disease transmitted by a mosquito. CIBION works in search of understanding of this condition

Aedes aegypti, mosquito transmisor de la enfermedad

Dengue is the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral disease worldwide, with over 390 million cases annually and more than 500 thousand hospitalizations. It often has a significant impact on poorer populations with limited access to healthcare services.

The increasing number of dengue cases in Argentina is causing concern among the medical, scientific, and health communities. According to the latest epidemiological report published by the Ministry of Health, there have been 27,430 cases of dengue from August 2023 to date, with 11,800 occurring in the first three weeks of January 2024. During this period, 20 deaths were recorded as a result of the disease.

Until a few years ago, this mosquito-borne illness, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, had a seasonal nature, but cases have been reported even in colder months since last year. The highest number of cases occurred in the NEA region (Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, and Misiones).


The most characteristic symptom of dengue is high fever, accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain behind the eyes.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Intense fatigue.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Itching and/or bleeding from the nose and gums.

While it doesn't happen with the majority of cases, the disease can develop into severe forms that pose a higher risk of death if it is not properly treated. As there is no specific treatment, the only prevention strategies are vector control through the elimination of mosquito breeding sites (standing water, vases, pots, pet water bowls, etc.) and vaccination.

Dengue, a Research Topic

The medicinal chemistry group at CIBION is working on the development of effective drugs for the treatment of serious zoonotic diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. The team employs computational methods like virtual screening and de novo design to search for candidate molecules. These techniques guide the drug design process. The selected compounds are synthesized and evaluated against specific targets, and once leading molecules are identified, structural modifications are carried out to optimize pharmacological potency, bioavailability, and improve safety profiles.

Meanwhile, the virus biophysics laboratory aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of the dengue virus to either develop a specific treatment or facilitate early disease detection. It is crucial to comprehend the behavior of this virus and the regulatory mechanisms of infection for a deeper understanding of the disease and the development of new antivirals and treatments.

As an example of their recent research, the virus biophysics team has participated in a study demonstrating how the virus utilizes lipoproteins present in the infected body to exacerbate the inflammation produced by immune cells during the disease.