The mosquito-borne virus, Zika, has developed in the Western Hemisphere, but the virus already spreads around two dozens of countries and territories. However, the number of Zika cases in the hemisphere this year dropped greatly in the top hit areas.
But some scientists prepare for the virus’s return for learning more about Zika’s biology and interactions with its hosts, and in developing a safe and effective vaccine. The clock is ticking for when we will see another outbreak, says Andrew Haddow, a medical entomologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md.
Researchers plans to learn about how the virus spreads through sexual interactions. In humans, Zika can continue in semen for close to three months. The study on macaques says that they exposed to the virus vaginally developed infections as did and received the virus via the rectum.
While conducting a test on people, Zika RNA clear from the blood by 54 days after symptoms begin, and urine by 39 days. And only testing on men, Zika RNA disappears from semen by 81 days. Some people in the study had identified levels of Zika RNA in saliva or vaginal secretions.
However, animals can act as a source for Zika between human disruptions. In a region of Brazil, some black-striped capuchin monkeys and common marmosets with high numbers of human cases carry the virus already.
Haddow says, there’s still a lot to learn about how the virus maintain long-term in nature. However, researchers testing to develop vaccines about the effects of zika during pregnancy.
In a test on humans, researchers develop a DNA vaccine from the virus that extracts an immune response, with 100 percent of participants developing antibodies after a three-dose procedure.
According to researchers, the virus may weaken further. But, the risk to public health remains, and actions are still needed.