Leading the fight against Zika virus in Brazil

Global distribution of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito with affected areas highlighted red.

Our scientists are carrying out world-leading research into the Zika virus outbreak, which has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation. The virus has gained global notoriety since late 2015 due to its rapid spread through the Americas and its potential link with microcephaly which causes birth defects in infants. 

The virus, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is now at the centre of a global outbreak with over 1.5 million people thought to be infected. This explosive spread is causing serious concern to health officials. 

Our researchers are stepping up work on Zika virus research with the help of a Newton Fund MRC-CONFAP award. Alain Kohl and Claire Donald are leading the projects, along with Brazilian colleagues from the Research Center Aggeu Magalhães at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Pernambuco, Brazil. 

Image of Alain and Claire promoting Reddit Ask Me Anything

The main objective is to study the presence and epidemiology of the Zika virus in Brazil and to understand the impacts of infection on the immune system. Genetic techniques will be used to improve our understanding of the biology of Zika virus during infection and to support diagnostics - with the ultimate aim being the development of a vaccine.