Senegalese researchers who helped contain the Ebola epidemic in West Africa are training Brazilians on how to tackle the Zika virus. They have brought along a mobile lab which quickly detects the virus.
Senegalese researcher Amadou Alpha Sall brought with him to Brazil a small team and a lab which fits into a bag. He wants to help Brazilians defeat the current epidemic of mosquito-borne Zika
The head of the Senegalese team believes that the most efficient way to control the epidemic is to quickly identify and isolate infected patients. Zanotto agrees: “People think controlling a vector means killing the mosquito. But controlling a vector means controlling a person in the viremic stage, because it is the patient who infects the mosquito. Once infected, the patient himself turns into a repository for the virus.”
Zika originated in Africa (note: it was extracted from a monkey). But until 2007, it infected only monkeys and didn’t harm humans. Scientists believe that the virus adapted (note: synthetic virologists tinkered) as it spread throughout the continents, becoming more dangerous for humans.
Speculative potential strains/variants:
- Zika virus (original 1947)
- Zika virus (cases 2007)
- Zika virus (French Polynesia 2013)
- Zika virus (Brazil 2015)