Climate change could boost dengue cases

| | New Delhi
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Climate change could boost dengue cases

Thursday, 17 February 2022 | PNS | New Delhi

Rising temperatures and untimely rains linked to climate change are likely to push dengue cases and fatalities in the country, health experts have warned. They have attributed  this spurt to increased survival, reproduction and biting rate of the mosquitoes causing vector borne disease.

Data speaks. Last year, mortalities due to dengue were significantly high at 247 cases till November, when compared to 66 deaths in 2020, according to the government statistics tabled in Parliament last week.

In fact, last year in September, in a high-level meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and attended by representatives of 11 affected states/UTs, the government had flagged the emerging challenge of serotype-II dengue which is associated with more cases and more complications than other The States reporting serotype - II dengue cases were Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, UP, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

To develop a safe, affordable and effective treatment for the vector-borne disease within five years,  the Transitional Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology on Wednesday joined hands with, DNDi Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative India Foundation engaged in developing new treatments for neglected patients.

As  per the partnership, preclinical studies of potential dengue treatments will be carried out besides  testing the efficacy of several repurposed drug candidates and implement clinical trials of the most promising compounds to deliver an affordable and accessible treatment solution.

 “‘There are no specific antiviral drugs to treat dengue infection, and limited use of vaccines. Despite research and development to identify treatment for dengue fever, we have not yet achieved sufficient results. It is important that we join our efforts to tackle the disease which affect millions of people,” said Dr Pramod Kumar Garg, Executive Director of THSTI.

“It is critical to find therapeutic solutions to this climate-sensitive disease that spreads at a rapid pace,’ added Dr Kavita Singh, Director, DNDi South Asia.

An analysis of data available from 400 stations of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) across the country indicates that in the last 50 years, the number of hot days has increased manifold. Scientists say that heat waves incidents are projected to increase eight times in the near future and will spike to alarmingly 30 times in 2071-2100.

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