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“High Profile Diseases” are written by individual NPRC Core Scientists who are experts in the specific subject of each article. Before publication on the website, each article is reviewed by representatives of all seven NPRCs.
Eliza Bliss-Moreau and Koen Van Rompay (CNPRC), David O'Connor (WNPRC)
The NPRCs are at the forefront of research urgently needed to understand Zika virus, to help develop vaccines for it, and especially to prevent pregnant mothers from transmitting it to their unborn children.
The rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus is strongly linked to fetal abnormalities including a neurological birth disorder called microcephaly, which results in smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development. Babies born with microcephaly have a limited life expectancy and poor brain function.
Transmitted through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito – the same insect that transmits Dengue – Zika has now spread to more than 20 countries in the Americas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women not to travel to affected areas. Health officials in several affected areas are advising women to avoid becoming pregnant, in some cases for up to two years.
The Zika outbreak is a pandemic in progress, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (1).
The virus is mild for most people who acquire it, causing a fever, headache, rash and perhaps pink eye. The danger to pregnant mothers is the urgent concern and the main reason for the travel advisories. The virus may pass through the placenta to a growing fetus. This does not happen with the Dengue, West Nile or chikungunya viruses. Zika has been found in breast milk, but it has not yet been confirmed whether it can be passed to an infant through nursing. Immune-compromised people may also be at a higher risk of more serious illness. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact (2).
The centers have strong research programs in global infectious diseases and experience researching Dengue, HIV, Ebola, malaria, Lyme disease, chikungunya, influenza and more.
There is an urgent need for researchers to understand the pathogenesis of Zika virus infection and especially how the virus affects the fetus and causes microcephaly. This information can then be used to help develop an effective vaccine or treatment for women, so doctors can prevent more birth defects and infant deaths.
A unique aspect of the NPRCs’ Zika research is that NPRC scientists are publishing online lab notebooks for anyone to see, rather than waiting to publish their data first in a scientific journal. (Please see the Live Research Updates section below). On Feb. 10, major government funding agencies and scientific journals released a statement supporting open-data sharing during public-health emergencies such as Zika. “In the context of a public-health emergency of international concern, there is an imperative on all parties to make any information available that might have value in combatting the crisis,” the statement read.
There are currently 11 publications available for Zika virus.
Aliota MT, Bassit L, Bradrick SS, Cox B, Garcia-Blanco MA, Gavegnano C, Friedrich TC, Golos TG, Griffin DE, Haddow AD, Kallas EG, Kitron U, Lecuit M, Magnani DM, Marrs C, Mercer N, McSweegan E, Ng LFP, O'Connor DH, Osorio JE, Ribeiro GS, Ricciardi M, Rossi SL, Saade G, Schinazi RF, Schott-Lerner GO, Shan C, Shi PY, Watkins DI, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC.
Zika in the Americas, year 2: What have we learned? What gaps remain? A report from the Global Virus Network.
Antiviral Res. 2017 Jun; 144(): 223-246.
Bowen JR, Quicke KM, Maddur MS, O'Neal JT, McDonald CE, Fedorova NB, Puri V, Shabman RS, Pulendran B, Suthar MS.
Zika Virus Antagonizes Type I Interferon Responses during Infection of Human Dendritic Cells.
PLoS Pathog. 2017 Feb; 13(2): e1006164.
Buechler CR, Bailey AL, Weiler AM, Barry GL, Breitbach ME, Stewart LM, Jasinska AJ, Freimer NB, Apetrei C, Phillips-Conroy JE, Jolly CJ, Rogers J, Friedrich TC, O'Connor DH.
Seroprevalence of Zika Virus in Wild African Green Monkeys and Baboons.
mSphere 2017 03; 2(2): .
Hirsch AJ, Smith JL, Haese NN, Broeckel RM, Parkins CJ, Kreklywich C, DeFilippis VR, Denton M, Smith PP, Messer WB, Colgin LM, Ducore RM, Grigsby PL, Hennebold JD, Swanson T, Legasse AW, Axthelm MK, MacAllister R, Wiley CA, Nelson JA, Streblow DN.
Zika Virus infection of rhesus macaques leads to viral persistence in multiple tissues.
PLoS Pathog. 2017 Mar; 13(3): e1006219.
Nguyen SM, Antony KM, Dudley DM, Kohn S, Simmons HA, Wolfe B, Salamat MS, Teixeira LBC, Wiepz GJ, Thoong TH, Aliota MT, Weiler AM, Barry GL, Weisgrau KL, Vosler LJ, Mohns MS, Breitbach ME, Stewart LM, Rasheed MN, Newman CM, Graham ME, Wieben OE, Turski PA, Johnson KM, Post J, Hayes JM, Schultz-Darken N, Schotzko ML, Eudailey JA, Permar SR, Rakasz EG, Mohr EL, Capuano S, Tarantal AF, Osorio JE, O'Connor SL, Friedrich TC, O'Connor DH, Golos TG.
Highly efficient maternal-fetal Zika virus transmission in pregnant rhesus macaques.
PLoS Pathog. 2017 May; 13(5): e1006378.
Pryke KM, Abraham J, Sali TM, Gall BJ, Archer I, Liu A, Bambina S, Baird J, Gough M, Chakhtoura M, Haddad EK, Kirby IT, Nilsen A, Streblow DN, Hirsch AJ, Smith JL, DeFilippis VR.
A Novel Agonist of the TRIF Pathway Induces a Cellular State Refractory to Replication of Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue Viruses.
MBio 2017 May; 8(3): .
Wolfe B, Wiepz GJ, Schotzko M, Bondarenko GI, Durning M, Simmons HA, Mejia A, Faith NG, Sampene E, Suresh M, Kathariou S, Czuprynski CJ, Golos TG.
Acute Fetal Demise with First Trimester Maternal Infection Resulting from Listeria monocytogenes in a Nonhuman Primate Model.
MBio 2017 Feb; 8(1): .
Aliota MT, Dudley DM, Newman CM, Mohr EL, Gellerup DD, Breitbach ME, Buechler CR, Rasheed MN, Mohns MS, Weiler AM, Barry GL, Weisgrau KL, Eudailey JA, Rakasz EG, Vosler LJ, Post J, Capuano S, Golos TG, Permar SR, Osorio JE, Friedrich TC, O'Connor SL, O'Connor DH.
Heterologous Protection against Asian Zika Virus Challenge in Rhesus Macaques.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2016 Dec; 10(12): e0005168.
Dudley DM, Aliota MT, Mohr EL, Weiler AM, Lehrer-Brey G, Weisgrau KL, Mohns MS, Breitbach ME, Rasheed MN, Newman CM, Gellerup DD, Moncla LH, Post J, Schultz-Darken N, Schotzko ML, Hayes JM, Eudailey JA, Moody MA, Permar SR, O'Connor SL, Rakasz EG, Simmons HA, Capuano S, Golos TG, Osorio JE, Friedrich TC, O'Connor DH.
A rhesus macaque model of Asian-lineage Zika virus infection.
Nat Commun 2016 Jun; 7(): 12204.
Kallas EG, O'Connor DH.
Real-Time Sharing of Zika Virus Data in an Interconnected World.
JAMA Pediatr 2016 Jul; 170(7): 633-4.
Pardee K, Green AA, Takahashi MK, Braff D, Lambert G, Lee JW, Ferrante T, Ma D, Donghia N, Fan M, Daringer NM, Bosch I, Dudley DM, O'Connor DH, Gehrke L, Collins JJ.
Rapid, Low-Cost Detection of Zika Virus Using Programmable Biomolecular Components.
Cell 2016 May; 165(5): 1255-66.
May 12, 2017
Formidable Flying Foe
March 9, 2017
Zika Attacks Nerves, Muscles, Other Tissues
October 13, 2016
Zika Vaccine Research Wins WARF Innovation Award
September 27, 2016
Fox 40 Talks Zika With Dr. Koen Van Rompay
September 12, 2016
Louisiana researchers at Tulane, LSU part of efforts to fight Zika
September 12, 2016
Seattle scientists first to show monkey model of Zika damage
August 15, 2016
Studying the Zika virus in rhesus macaques
August 11, 2016
Combating Zika Virus
July 28, 2016
UW-Madison: A world leader in Zika virus research
July 25, 2016
Researchers 'solve' key Zika virus protein structure
July 18, 2016
Zika Data From the Lab, and Right to the Web
June 29, 2016
Can you get Zika twice? Or are you immune?
June 28, 2016
New Studies Show Just How Tricky the Zika Virus Is
March 19, 2016
Taking the online medicine
February 26, 2016
Zika virus: The benefits of open research
February 24, 2016
US Scientists Investigate Zika Spread
February 18, 2016
Monkey study to show whether Zika really causes birth defects
February 18, 2016
Zika Virus in the Americas — Yet Another Arbovirus Threat
February 16, 2016
UC Davis Primate Researchers Key on Zika Virus
February 16, 2016
Understanding Zika Virus with Nonhuman Primates