Zika virus Current Affairs

NBRC researchers decipher how Zika virus causes microcephaly

Scientists from National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) have successfully identified molecular and cellular mechanisms by which Zika virus causes microcephaly. Babies born with microcephaly have significantly smaller head size compared with normal babies.

Key Findings

The researchers found envelop protein (E protein) of Zika virus, which is responsible for entry of virus into brain stem cells, was responsible for arresting proliferation of human foetal neural stem cells and also killing cells that were becoming neuron-like. The combined effect reduces pool of foetal brain cells leading to smaller size of the brain.

Significance

The study shows that neutralising E protein of Zika virus can help prevent or reduce its harmful effects in developing foetus. The E protein can be seen as likely therapeutic target. The E protein in Zika virus is mutated and very different from envelop protein of other flaviviruses such as dengue, yellow fever, west nilevirus, and Japanese encephalitis. It was found to be more potent in arresting the proliferation of brain stem cells. The other three envelop proteins were acting in less significant manner.

Zika virus

Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also transmits dengue. It can also spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact. It 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 possible link between virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected. 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.

Month: Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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Indian mosquitoes susceptible to Zika virus: NIV study

Recent National Institute of Virology (NIV) study has found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya viruses is easily susceptible to zika virus. During the study it was found that Indian Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with African strain MR-766 of zika virus (ZIKV) can easily transmit infection.

Key Facts

This study shows that Indian mosquitoes pick up ZIKV in natural way. They were experimentally infected with zika virus through oral-feeding route, which is natural mode by which mosquitoes get virus. These infected mosquitoes, harbour the virus in their salivary glands were allowed to bite on infant and suckling mice.

The organs of sick mice were subjected to three detection tests histopathology, real-time RT-PCR, and Immunohistochemistry [IHC] to check for presence of virus. The results of tests showed clinical symptoms of ZIKV such as trembling, solitary behaviour, nervous signs, no movement, and lethargy in mice after 4-5 days after being bitten by the infected mosquitoes.

Significance

Zika virus is emerging threat unless contained especially in areas where vector Aedes aegypti mosquito is in large numbers, including India. So there is need to explore possibilities for containing virus. This study will help to explore suitable model for understanding Zika virus’s natural transmission and disease progression.

Zika virus

Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue. It can also spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact. It 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 virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected. 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.

In 2013, the first zika virus outbreak was reported in the Marquesas Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It subsequently spread to Brazil in May 2015. In India, three cases were identified in Gujarat and one Tamil Nadu, suggesting that the virus is not new in the country.

Month: Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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