Africa: Senegalese Help Brazil Fight the Zika Virus

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)

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