Zika virus Current Affairs

Spanish scientists discover novobiocin compound as anti-Zika drug

Researchers San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia, Spain have discovered novobiocin compound that could be used as a potential drug to fight the effects of a Zika virus infection.

The novobiocin molecule (compound) was previously used in antibiotic drug to fend off “nosocomial” infections (those acquired inside a hospital). However, the drug was withdrawn from the market because it had lost its potency as an antibiotic.

Novobiocin compound

Researchers have found that this compound can counter the symptoms of the mosquito-borne Zika disease. It has shown phenomenal recovery results in mice with 100-percent cure rate. However, researchers are still figuring out the exact dose needed for humans to achieve the same successful outcome. They also have patented the molecule for anti-Zika treatment.

About Zika virus

Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue. It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible. The Zika virus has been named after Zika forest in Uganda where it was first isolated in 1947.

The Zika disease had seen swift expansion between early 2015 and January 2016 throughout South America and Caribbean where babies with abnormally smaller heads due to Microcephaly were born. World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the disease as epidemic and global health emergency but later revoked it after the outbreak was brought under control.

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Tamil Nadu reports first case of Zika virus

Tamil Nadu has reported its first case of Zika virus in a 27-year-old man from a village in Krishnagiri district. RT-PCR test conducted on patient’s blood, urine and throat samples were found to be positive for Zika.

This is second case Zika reported in India. Earlier in May 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the first cases of Zika in in Ahmedabad, Gujarat after three cases were detected.

About Zika virus

Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue. It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.

Threats: The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads. Besides a possible link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected.

Treatment: There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.

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