THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Computerized methods support fight against Zika virus

From 2015 to 2016, the Zika virus has spread to epidemic levels throughout South America. | File photo

Scientists have developed computer-assisted methods to fight the spread of the Zika virus, which does not have any treatment or vaccine to prevent the disease's transmission.

These new computer approaches may help health professionals make decisions with vast support systems.

The new method uses computer-assisted drug design, mathematical approaches for characterizing emerging Zika strains, and computer-aided vaccine design. These approaches should make vaccine and treatment design more efficient.

Experts attribute the rise in the Zika virus to international travel, worldwide climate change, and inefficient vector control programs. All of these factors make it easier for the infectious diseases to manifest and spread around the world.

Two kinds of mosquitoes, aedes aegypti (typically found in tropical climates) and aedes albopictus (found from the Americas to the Great Lakes), transmit the Zika virus to humans.

From 2015 to 2016, the Zika virus has spread to epidemic levels throughout South America. This makes Zika an important public health emergency, as the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Feb. 1.

There are two reasons that the WHO has made this epidemic a public health emergency. First, the virus is connected to microcephaly children who are born from mothers infected with the virus. Second, these children also develop Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), which is an autoimmune disease that can cause a fatal paralysis.

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Bentham Science Publishers Sharjah, Sharjah

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