Zika virus dominated our news in recent days, with headlines such as Zika virus: three returning UK travellers diagnosed, Zika virus: medical advice for travellers and World Health Organization Issues Warning on Zika Virus. The disease is believed to have infected 1.5 million people since its outbreak in Brazil and has spread around the world.
On 14 January 2016, the world let a sigh of relief when the WHO declared the end of the most recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia. Ebola outbreak caused havoc in West Africa, for almost 2 years. The news about a new outbreak with potential to spread globally and suspected birth defects in expectant women is unnerving. With the upcoming Olympics in Brazil, concerns for the health of the athletes and visitors are prominent.
What is Zika Virus?
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The same mosquito also transmits 3 other vector-borne diseases – dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever – across tropical and subtropical regions around the world. First identified in 1947 in Uganda, only sporadic cases were reported until 2013, when the disease started spreading to become a real health threat. The most common symptoms of the disease are headache, muscle and joint pain, mild fever, rash, and conjunctivitis, lasting for 2-7 days.
Zika virus is diagnosed through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and virus isolation from blood samples. There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites (Source WHO). The large-scale outbreak in Brazil led virologists to link the virus to a birth defect called microcephaly, the medical term for abnormally small heads. According to World Health Organization no deaths attributable to Zika have been reported.
About Bulb Interiors
Bulb Interiors, specialists in workplace refurbishment and fit-outs, are rapidly expanding in the scientific sector. We partner with laboratory clients, understand their needs and deliver compliant research environments. That is our contribution to science – creating exceptional and productive workplaces for world-class research. One of our clients, Oxitec is a British biotech company (now a subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation) pioneering an environmentally friendly way to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops.
The Client – Oxitec
Oxitec has developed a new and innovative solution to controlling the mosquito, Aedes aegypti, using advanced genetics and molecular biology. Small-scale studies in parts of Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands suggest engineered sterile mosquitoes can reduce wild insect populations by more than 90% when released into the wild. Thus, can tackle Brazil’s Zika virus with genetically modified mosquitoes.
Bulb have been helping Oxitec to build their research facilities in Milton Park, Abingdon. We are proud of Oxitec’s effective, safe and environment friendly solution to control Zika Virus.