Zika virus (ZIKV) is a newly emergent relative of the Flaviviridae family and linked to dengue (DENV) and Chikungunya (CHIVKV). ZIKV is one of the rising pathogens promptly surpassing geographical borders.(1) Since its isolation from Uganda, it has been reported to be associated with sporadic human infections in Africa and Asia. The most remarkable details are available from the epidemic that occurred in Yap Island, Micronesia (2007), in French Polynesia (2013), and in New Caledonia (2014).ZIKV infection in Brazil was confirmed in May 2015 and by January 2016 the ZIKV epidemic had spread to many countries of Americas, including Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Samoa, Suriname, and Venezuela.(3)
The recent outbreaks of ZIKV in the Americas and its association with severe neurological disorders, including fetal microcephaly, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and ocular abnormalities, have caused a great social and sanitary alarm. The significance of ZIKV in human health, together with a lack of approved therapeutic (antivirals) or prophylactic (vaccines) interventions, has triggered a global effort to develop effective countermeasures against this pathogen, which has the potential to affect millions of people worldwide.(2)
Guillain–Barré syndrome and cases of other neurologic manifestations appears in Brazil and French Polynesia throughout ZIKV epidemics, even though it is self-limiting. A report from Ministry of Health of Brazil indicates that there is a possible relation between fetal deformities and infection with ZIKV in pregnancy, as the incidences of microcephaly cases among neonates have amplified by a factor of about 20.(1)
The Genome Structure of Zika Virus
The length of ZIKV genome is 10,794 kb, comprising a positive sense single-stranded RNA molecule having two noncoding regions (NCR) and a long open reading frame that encode a polyprotein. The protein is cleaved into capsid (C), envelope (E), precursor of membrane (prM) and seven non-structural proteins.(1)
Zika Virus Proteins used in current Research
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ZIKV Envelope Protein
ZIKV Membrane Protein
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References: "Zika virus: An overview." in: Journal of family medicine and primary care, Vol. 5, Issue 3, pp. 523-527 (PubMed).
: "New Advances on Zika Virus Research." in: Viruses, Vol. 11, Issue 3, (2019) (PubMed).
: "A review on Zika virus outbreak, epidemiology, transmission and infection dynamics." in: Journal of biological research (Thessalonike, Greece), Vol. 27, pp. 5, (2020) (PubMed).