By Ziba Kashef
A proposed strategy to vaccinate against Zika infection might also be effective in tackling West Nile disease, another potentially serious infection transmitted by mosquitoes, said Yale researchers in a new study.
Common in North America, West Nile Virus belongs to the same family of flaviviruses as Zika. In a prior study, the team led by Section Chief for Infectious Diseases Erol Fikrig demonstrated that blocking a protein (AgBR1) found in the saliva of mosquitoes and transmitted to hosts could reduce Zika infection. For the latest study, they tested the same theory in mice exposed to West Nile by the same mosquito, Aedes aegypti.
The researchers found that an AgBR1 antiserum delayed West Nile Virus infection in mice. Their study, they said, provides further evidence to support the idea of targeting the protein, which exacerbates infection, to protect against West Nile and other mosquito-borne threats.