Zika warns when scientists discover simple mutation that could trigger new epidemic

One mutation is already rapidly evolving Zika virus Scientists have warned that another major spread of the disease could be caused by avoiding existing immunity.

The ZikavirusWhich is carried MosquitoesIt is usually mild in adults, however it can infect the developing fetus and cause congenital defects such as MicrocephalyCausing infants to have reduced head size and symptoms, including developmental delays, seizures, and delayed speech ability.

In severe cases it can cause fatal brain damage in infants and miscarriage or stillbirth in pregnant women, while its prevalence in America in 2015 and 2016 caused a global alarm.

Now, researchers at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology (LJI) in California have found that the virus can easily mutate and become more infectious with a single change of amino acid.

In a virus that is already showing signs of rapid evolution, scientists fear it could allow infections to spread more widely, says their article, which was published in Cell Reports.

They found that a dangerous mutation (called NS2B I39V / I39T) enhances the ability of the virus to multiply in mice, mosquitoes and human cells.

Zika has many of the same biological properties as the dengue virus, and earlier exposure to dengue can protect Zika. However, the researchers said that both viruses mutate rapidly and the emerging virus means that long-term protection is not guaranteed.

“Dengue and Zika are RNA viruses, which means they can alter the genome,” said Professor Sujan Shresta, who led the study with a team from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Rosana Vieira Alves feeds her two-year-old daughter Luana Vieira, who was born with microcephaly, at her home in Olinda, Brazil.


“When there are so many mosquitoes and so many human hosts, these viruses are constantly moving back and forth and evolving.

“The Zika variant we have identified has evolved to the point where the cross-protective immunity bestowed by previous dengue infections was no longer effective in mice.

Unfortunately for us, if this option spreads, we could have the same problems in real life.

Jose Angel Regla-Nava, a former LJI researcher and current associate professor at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, said: “This single mutation is enough to increase the virulence of the Zika virus.

“High rates of multiplication in mosquitoes or human hosts may increase virus transmission or pathogenicity and lead to new epidemics.”

Ministry of Health staff are eradicating the Aedes aegypti mosquito in 2016 in El Salvador to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.


The researchers were able to study how the virus develops naturally by analyzing infectious cycles that repeatedly alternated between mosquito cells and mice, allowing them to discuss ways to vaccinate and treat new threats.

Zika was first detected in monkeys in Uganda in 1947, and the last epidemic in Brazil and other US countries in 2015 and 2016 led to an increase in abortions and other congenital malformations.

This prompted the World Health Organization to declare a state of emergency of international concern, although Brazil announced in 2017 that the disease was over.

In rare cases, the virus can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, a serious condition that affects the nerves and causes problems such as numbness, weakness and pain.

Mosquito Aedes aegypti, which spreads Zika

(Getty / iStock)

Zika is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which causes rapid transmission between humans, especially in high-density populations. It can also be transmitted during sexual contact.

In January, researchers in the United States said the Zika vaccine they were working on had been shown to be effective in preventing mother-to-child transmission of the virus in early studies.

In-Jeong Kim, a viral immunologist at the Trudeau Institute in New York City where the vaccine was developed, said: “The vaccine has been shown to be safe for non-pregnant people, but of course we need to know if it is safe and effective for people at greatest risk: For pregnant women and their fetuses.

Zika warns when scientists discover simple mutation that could trigger new epidemic

Source link Zika warns when scientists discover simple mutation that could trigger new epidemic

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