Exposure to mosquito-borne dengue may provide some immunity to COVID-19, Reuters reported Monday, citing a new study.
The as-yet-unpublished study analyzed the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil and found a link between the spread of the virus and previous dengue fever outbreaks, according to Newswire.
The study, led by Miquel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, reportedly compared the geographic distribution of coronavirus cases with the spread of dengue in 2019 and 2020.
Nicolelis found that places with lower coronavirus infection rates and slower case growth were also places where intense dengue outbreaks had occurred this year or last year.
“This remarkable finding opens up the fascinating possibility of immunological cross-reactivity between the dengue flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2,”
The researcher told Reuters the results are particularly interesting because previous studies have shown that people with dengue antibodies in their blood can falsely test positive for COVID-19 antibodies even if they haven’t been infected with the coronavirus.
“This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that no one could have expected because the two viruses come from completely different families,” said Nicolelis.
He added that more studies are needed to prove the link.
According to the Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has reported the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the US and India. More than 4.5 million cases and 136,895 deaths have been reported.