The Zika virus has officially been stripped bare, undressed, exposed…you get it. Researchers from Purdue University just recently uncovered the complete structure of the Zika virus. This discovery is a huge step forward in the fight to conquer the virus. This new knowledge will help scientists develop better treatments for the virus as well as a vaccine.
One problem researchers have been having with developing a vaccine and treatment for the virus is its similarity to other mosquito-borne diseases. This makes it difficult to make a vaccine that will specifically and successfully target the Zika virus. However, this new discovery may just take care of all that. The scientists that determined the structure of the Zika virus also found regions within the structure that are completely different from the structures of the other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever. These regions set the Zika virus apart from those other disease.
Why is this discovery so monumental? Well, the structure of the Zika virus can be thought of as a kind of map. And on this map are regions that could potentially be targeted by scientists to develop an effective vaccine, better treatment, and better diagnostic tests. We’ve essentially found the virus’s Achilles heal and so now we know where to point our arrows in order to cause damage.
Do you think this could be the tipping point of the war against the Zika virus? Might we be on the verge of being able to finally beat this thing?