Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Can Wolbachia Bacterium Combat Zika Virus



Hope you would be aware of the Zika virus by now. The media is buzzing with topics related to Zika virus. The outbreak in Brazil in May 2015 brought it to the attention of the world.

But it was discovered way back in 1947. Scientists researching yellow fever placed a rhesus monkey in a cage in the Zika forest in Uganda. The monkey got a fever and the researchers isolated from its serum what was called as Zika virus.

Pregnant Women

Health professionals advise the pregnant women to take care. Data suggests that newborn babies of mothers who had Zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy are at an increased risk of microcephaly. It is a condition related to incomplete brain development.

Can Wolbachia bacterium stop the spread of Zika virus?

It is an interesting twist to this horrifying scenario. It just occurred to me while I was working on this post.

So what is Wolbachia?

Wolbachia is a bacterium that has been linked to viral resistance. Studies say that this bacterium induces reactive oxygen species-dependent activation of toll pathway which inhibits dengue virus proliferation.

Scientists in earlier research studies say that if Ades mosquito is infected with this bacterium the spread of dengue virus can be controlled to a great extent.

Now my point of view is that what will happen if the same principle is used for combating Zika virus?

Who knows it can be an effective way to combat this disease? Hope some research is done so everyone can breathe a sigh of relief from this deadly virus.

Take care
Swarnam