Diagnosing dengue has become a major research focus follow calls from the WHO for point-of-care testing to be used prior to dengue vaccination.
The World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization has proposed that people be tested to see if they have had dengue in the past before they are given the dengue vaccine.
At its April 2018 meeting, SAGE noted second infections with a dengue virus can be worse than first infections, and that the best candidates for vaccination are those who have had a previous infection. The group suggests that the vaccine is of most value to public health, and least risk to individuals, in countries where dengue fever is endemic.
The call for a simple point-of-care test has injected new urgency into research on tools for diagnosing dengue that is rapid, inexpensive, accurate and mass produced. Today, such a test does not exist. Several are in development but some estimates suggest it could be two to three years before a suitable product hits the market.