Dengue fever is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Estimates indicate 390 million people are infected every year, with Mexico accounting for 6.3 per cent of all cases. So, a group of researchers from Oxford and several partner universities in Mexico set out towards finding a pioneering universal vaccine against the disease.
Led by Professor Reyes-Sandoval, the group secured funding from the Newton Fund Institutional Links programme to conduct research in Mexico where the virus is particularly prevalent. The funding bought vital equipment and enabled scientists from both countries to work face-to-face and share their expertise. It also supported the mobility of 10 scientists from Mexico to Oxford to further build their capacity in the field.
The group have now secured funding to transfer their research to industry, with a UK patent pending. The study indicated that nearly everyone tested responded to the vaccine antigen. And, if taken into production, the vaccine could be essential for travellers going overseas.
The work also helped to establish a growing consortium of scientists in Mexico and the UK with a common interest in studying viruses, further fostering collaboration and relationships between the two countries.
“The funding brought me closer to scientists in Mexico and also to people that were interested in supporting the vaccine development.”
Professor Arturo Reyes-Sandoval