New Year update about Zika virus
The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus originally discovered in the Zika Forest area in Uganda in 1947. It was not considered a relevant pathogen for humans until the outbreaks of fever illness that occurred in the Pacific area in 2007, and later in 2013-14. However, it was its arrival and dramatic spread in Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries that alarmed public health authorities and the scientific community.
The Importance of Continuous Learning in the Time of Zika
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), pregnant women have the same risk of being infected with Zika virus, which is transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, as the general population.
Temperatures could accelerate the success of a Zika vaccine
As warmer temperatures herald annoying mosquitoes, the researchers are feverishly working on several promising vaccines against zika, a virus known to infect humans through the bite of this insect. The speed and debilitating effects of last year's zika outbreak in the Western Hemisphere generated a race to develop a vaccine. Just over a year after this pandemic was declared a global health emergency, a group of volunteers are undergoing preliminary testing.
Zika & Blood Transfusion
On August 26, 2016, FDA issued revised guidance, recommending that blood centers in all states and U.S. territories screen individual units of donated whole blood and blood components with a blood screening test authorized for use by FDA under an investigational new drug (IND) application, or with a licensed test when available.
Response to Zika in Four Latin American Countries
In a new report on Zika in four Central American countries – Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Guatemala – the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) offers recommendations for improving the social and behavior change communication (SBCC) response to the virus. HC3 visited the four countries in March and April 2016 to quickly take the pulse of the Zika situation and the local response.
New insights into how the Zika virus causes microcephaly
A study published today in Science shows that the Zika virus hijacks a human protein called Musashi-1 (MSI1) to allow it to replicate in, and kill, neural stem cells. Almost all MSI1 protein in the developing embryo is produced in the neural stem cells that will eventually develop into the baby's brain, which could explain why these cells are so vulnerable to Zika.
Treatment of zika virus almost found
Several scientists in the world have devoted their knowledge and efforts to obtain a medicine or vaccine that can be used in people infected with the zika virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits dengue and chikungunya. The search for a chemical formula triggered laboratory alarms since the World Health Organization (WHO) issued, in early December 2015, an epidemiological alert against zika virus due to its relationship with the increase of newborns with Microcephaly. Since then, many scientific studies have been undertaken worldwide.
New vaccine for Zika that is both effective and safe
Penn researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind vaccine to fight the Zika virus that demonstrates both safety and effectiveness. Participants in a clinical trial who received three doses of the GLS-5700 vaccine developed Zika-specific antibodies with minimal negative effects. These results open the door to future clinical trials and possible government approval for the vaccine. The study, which was published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, was a joint project of the Perelman School of Medicine, the Wistar Institute, Inovio Pharmaceuticals and GeneOne Life Science, Inc.
Zika & Animals
Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes
species mosquito (A. aegypti
and A. albopictus
). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
Babies with Zika virus malformations
Three babies were born with malformations associated with infection with the Zika virus, and three others appear as probable cases. The most common malformation is microcephaly, but other associated complications may also occur as part of congenital zika syndrome (SZC) or congenital syndrome associated with zika. Health authorities had predicted the increase in this type of cases. Only last year, it was possible to confirm with laboratory tests the infection with this virus of 150 pregnant women. Of these, between 25% and 30% has already given birth.
Pregnant During the Zika Outbreak
My pregnancy began in March 2016, just a month after the World Health Organization declared Zika an international public health emergency. Although I work in health care as a nurse, I have felt uncertain about the course of this epidemic.