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Zika news updates: Study strengthens suspected link between Zika and paralysis; Rapid test developedMay092016

Two new updates today on Zika virus:

Portable Zika test

Researchers have created a portable test that can show whether someone has been infected with the Zika virus, even in remote areas far from a hospital or lab. In a study published Friday in the journal Cell, a group of scientists led by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University describe how the inexpensive test was able to rapidly detect the virus in blood samples taken from Zika-infected monkeys.

The paper-based test, which can be freeze-dried and transported without refrigeration, would cost less than $1 per patient and deliver results within a few hours, said co-investigator Keith Pardee.

In simple terms, the paper is embedded with cell-based RNA sensors that can detect the genome sequence that’s unique to the Zika virus when a blood sample is introduced to its surface. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is part of the internal machinery in every cell and acts as a messenger to carry instructions from the DNA to control the synthesis of proteins.

Because the technology can be programmed for specific pathogens, similar tests could be developed to quickly confirm whether a patient has been infected by virtually any diseasecausing microbe, from seasonal influenza to Ebola.

Read the full article on the Times Colonist website.

Current Zika Research

Research into the Zika virus is happening quickly… this article in The New York Times presents a good current summary.

The research papers mentioned in the article can be found here:

Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth
Cell Stem Cell vol 18 Issue 5

Brain-Region-Specific Organoids Using Mini-bioreactors for Modeling ZIKV Exposure
Cell, April 2016