SINGAPORE, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Researchers from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in National University of Singapore (NUS) have found a new way to fight against chikungunya virus, which once broke out to a record cases of 1,000 during 2008-2010 here, according to the report by local media Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday.
The chikungunya, which is spread by the Aedes mosquito, is a viral disease with symptoms similar to dengue fever, with an acute febrile phase of the illness lasting only two to five days, followed by intense pain in the joints for a long time.
There are no specific treatments for this decease, and no vaccine is currently available, with only some treatment to relieve the pain.
The researchers said they have "successfully identified a genetic sequence - called 'small hairpin RNA' for the shape of the sequence - which stops the chikungunya virus from replicating before going on to destroy the virus", the Straits Times reported.
"For the past two years, we don't have as many cases but I think chikungunya virus may come back and give us another ' explosive' round of infection, in Singapore's context," Chu Jang Hann, the lead principal investigator said, adding that it could be used in the future to protect Singaporeans who travel to countries where chikungunya is endemic.
According to the Straits Times, the new approach has not yet been tested in clinical trials.