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Initial Success: Stopping The Zika Virus Infection In Its Tracks With A Small Peptide

Zika virus, its been a hot topic of discussion recently due to its rapid spread and potentially awful ramifications for pregnant women and their growing babies. As a result, research is in high gear in an attempt to find a way to combat the infection. Today we will be "briefly" discussing some new research published in the journal Nature Communications titled "A peptide-based viral inactivator inhibits Zika virus infection in pregnant mice and fetuses.". Here the authors describe their work on a small protein (peptide) that inhibits the viral growth of the Zika virus through busting apart its viral membrane! Lets dive on in!

Image Source Zika Virus... Briefly

Zika is a member of the Flaviviridae family of viruses and is spread to humans by mosquitoes. The Flavviridae family is actually quite famous and you may be familiar with some of its brethren like: the west nile virus or Dengue virus or even Hepatitis... not a friendly bunch. Now the disease "Zika fever" is actually pretty mild (for an adult) and causes some inflammation, swelling, a fever, aches that sort of thing. The issue with it, is a little different if say.. a pregnant mother gets infected. Now in this case the virus can infect the fetus and the resulting Zika fever can lead to poor brain development (a condition called microencephaly), which has other side effects which include things like seizures, a messed up face (the scientific term of course), intellectual disabilities, and junky motor functions (difficulties moving around). This is certainly not a disease anyone of us would wish on an expectant mother. Having a baby is supposed to be a time of joy, not worry over the complications of a zika viral infection.

Are There Any Treatments?

Nope, there are currently no vaccines or other therapies available for the treatment of this infection.

How About This Paper You Mentioned Above?

Oh yeah, that! So the researchers here were working on a small...

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