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Purdue researchers reveal Zika virus structure

Posted at 2:20 PM, Mar 31, 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A team led by Purdue University has determined the structure of the Zika virus, revealing important information to the development of effective treatments and vaccines. 

Researchers announced the news Thursday. 

The team of researchers also identified regions within the Zika virus structure where it differs from other flaviviruses, the family of viruses to which Zika belongs that includes dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitic viruses.

Any regions within the virus structure unique to Zika have the potential to explain differences in how a virus is transmitted and how it manifests a disease, Richard Kuhn, director for the Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases said in a press release from Purdue University. 

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"The structure of the virus provides a map that shows potential regions of the virus that could be targeted by a therapeutic treatment, used to create an effective vaccine or to improve our ability to diagnose and distinguish Zika infection from that of other related viruses," Kuhn said.

"This breakthrough illustrates not only the importance of basic research to the betterment of human health, but also its nimbleness in quickly addressing a pressing global concern. This talented team of researchers solved a very difficult puzzle in a remarkably short period of time, and have provided those working on developing vaccines and treatments to stop this virus a map to guide their way," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. 

The team plans to continue testing to evaluate the different regions as targets for treatment and to develop potential therapeutic molecules.


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