IIT SCIENTIST DECIPHERS THE ZIKA VIRUS
The Zika virus is a global threat with scientists in a race to find an antivirus. IIT scientist, Dr. Rajanish Giri, is researching a cure for this ailment that could potentially save millions of lives.
METHOD OF RESEARCH
Pregnant women infected by the Zika Virus is the cause of fetal deformities in unborn children. Scientists have been searching for a cure. Dr. Giri identified crucial aspects of the Zika Virus protein, that benefits research of the viral pathogenesis at a molecular level. He used computational research and biophysical studies to decipher the structure and action of the Zika Virus and is being assisted by Vladimir Uversky from the University of South Florida and research scholar, Pushpendra Mani Mishra. The trio recently published their work ‘Journal of Molecular Biology’, on the nature, comprehension, exploration, and breakdown of the complex mechanism of viral pathogenesis.
HOW ZIKA WORKS?
In an interview, Dr. Giri explained the root of the disease. During their formation, viruses need a host to replicate. They normally germinate in a fluid area between living and non-living entities. A shell of protein, the single-stranded Ribonucleic acid (RNA) shelters the virus holds. Having originated in the Ugandan forests, Zika strikes the nerve cells of hosts. Nerve cells are extensive during embryogeny, making fetuses particularly vulnerable to the virus. Infected pregnant women endanger their fetuses resulting in miscarriages, stillbirths or deformities where babies have small brains or microcephaly. There is still no cure or vaccination for people infected by the Zika Virus. Prevention is the only curative measure, though death is rare.
The scientists made a breakthrough by deciphering the structure of the Zika Virus. Their intensive research found a way to combat this global disease. The team used the upgraded research method of bio-informatics. They accessed the database of viral protein and genes, arriving at a possible solution after rapid computational analysis.
Dr. Rajanish Giri’s breakthrough research to combat this virus is a great motivation in tackling Zika at the ground level.