Texas Medical Branch Clones Zika Virus For Potential Vaccine

A microbiologist checks a petri dish for a bacteria culture in the micro biological laboratory of the regional authorities for food security and consumer protection in the German state Thuringia in Erfurt, eastern Germany, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001. Final tests on powder found in a letter that touched off …
AP File Photo/Jens Meyer

Scientists in Texas are the first to have successfully cloned the Zika virus. Experts at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston say the Zika clone can help in the development of an effective vaccine.

The virus can now be created in laboratories. “What we’ve created is something that is reproducible, meaning that batches of this virus can be made in large quantities,” UTMB’s Pei-Yong Shi told CNN.

According to the published research paper, “Unraveling the mechanisms causing increased viral transmissibility and disease severity requires experimental systems.” The medical institute reported the production of “an infectious cDNA clone of ZIKV that was generated using a clinical isolate of the Asian lineage.”

Scientists hope they will be able to create a vaccine after working with “mouse and mosquito infection models.”

Mosquitoes are rampant in the spring and outbreaks of any disease are more likely at that time. Economically depressed areas in Texas are potential dangerous breeding grounds.

The danger of the virus in Texas and the states initially comes from travel to, or from those who have been in El Salvador, Brazil, and Columbia. These countries in particular have seen a huge outbreak of the virus. Breitbart News reported that Brazil launched a door-to-door campaign using 220,000 soldiers. There has been 4,000 fetus affected cases and approximately 200 more are diagnosed every week.

Pregnant women and their unborn children are the most susceptible to the virus, as reported by Breitbart Texas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel advisory and have warned pregnant women to not travel to Latin and Central America – areas that have been hit hard by the disease.

Health authorities also ask that those returning from areas that have had an outbreak of the virus, be careful not to be bitten by mosquitoes even if they do not have symptoms, reported the The Dallas Morning News.

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2



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