Study Findings bring us One Step Closer to a Cure for the Zika Virus
The zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can pass from pregnant women to the fetus, causing birth defects such as microcephaly (baby’s head is smaller and Guillain-Barré syndrome.. There are currently no vaccines or medicine to treat it but researchers claim they have reached a step closer towards a cure by mapping a protein that helps the zika virus to replicate and spread.
The symptoms of the zika virus last for about 2-7 days and include:
- mild fever
- skin rash
- eye inflammation
- muscle and joint pain
These symptoms are often so mild that people can barely notice them.
The study was led by Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington in collaboration with Texas A&M University in College Station, and they were able to map an important protein in the Zika virus (non structural protein 5 or NS5) that helps the virus to replicate and spread. As a result of this, Professor Cheng Kao and his team are already working with partners to find compounds that can target the NS5 protein in the zika virus. Already, drugs approved to treat diseases like hepatitis have the potential to be used in tacking the zika virus.
Finally, I would like to end on a quote from the head professor in the study Prof. Cheng Kao:
“Mapping this protein provides us [with] the ability to reproduce a key part of the Zika virus in a lab. This means we can quickly analyze existing drugs and other compounds that can disrupt the spread of the virus. Drugs to target the Zika virus will almost certainly involve this protein.”
Hopefully, this outstanding discovery will lead us to a cure to the deadly virus that had more than 1 million cases reported in the latest World Heath Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization update.
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