Professor Andrea Gamarnik, 2016 Laureate for limiting the spread of dengue virus

Every year 390 million people suffer from dengue infection. Professor Gamarnik’s research has the potential to control the spread of the disease. She will be awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Prize on March 2016.


Professor Andrea Gamarnik has spent much of her career trying to understand the virus that causes dengue fever. Affecting some 390 million people every year, this disease is spread by mosquitoes in the subtropical and tropical regions that are home to half of the planet’s population. The most severe form of the disease causes hemorrhagic fever, leading to approximately 20,000 deaths annually, especially among children. Cases of dengue have increased dramatically since the 1960s and there is evidence that as the world warms, the mosquitoes responsible for transmission are extending their range.


Professor Gamarnik has been trying to unlock the secrets of this virus for many years, focusing particularly on how it replicates. This is no easy task because the virus adapts to different environments and exists in different forms across vast expanses of the globe. Ultimately, her research has the potential to enable medical science to create antivirals or vaccines against dengue virus. Such medicines would prevent the untold suffering of millions of people living predominantly in emerging countries as well as alleviating the enormous economic burden on both individuals and underfunded public health systems in the developing world. But her research has also a very important impact for the understanding of the viral life cycle of other emerging and re-emerging viruses closely related to dengue, such as Zika virus, which is currently causing a tremendous epidemic in Latin America.

Follow her during the #Forwomeninscience Week from March 21st to 25th on DiscovHER Facebook and Twitter @4womeninscience 

For Women in Science

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