Pew Latin American Fellow Wins Grant to Study Dengue Virus

Diego Alvarez, a 2009 Pew Latin American fellow and associate investigator at the National University of San Martin in Argentina, has received support from the Bunge and Born Foundation to develop diagnostic techniques for the virus that causes dengue fever.

Dengue virus affects up to 100 million people every year and is prone to pandemics, especially in poor urban areas, including parts of Latin America. It is transmitted through mosquito bites and produces symptoms such as fever, pain, and rash—and a potentially lethal complication known as severe dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Early diagnosis of dengue infections is crucial to increasing survival rates, according to the World Health Organization. The Bunge and Born funding will enable Alvarez to create a biochemical test to detect dengue molecules using immune cells.

As a Pew Latin American fellow, Alvarez trained in the laboratory of Hervé Agaisse at the Yale School of Medicine. Their studies focused on understanding how viruses spread from cell to cell within the body.

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