The Advancements in the Early Detection of Zika Virus Infection

  •  Sharon Sherry Huang    
  •  Erick Ceasar Huang    
  •  Chao Shen Huang    


The Zika Virus (ZIKV) was propelled to international attention during its outbreak from 2015-2016. Interestingly, the most recent outbreak was not ZIKV’s first, although it proved to be the most widespread and impactful, with millions affected in South America, Asia and Africa. Presently no longer considered a global emergency, ZIKV has managed to invoke fear and realization of the susceptibility of the global population to rapidly evolving viruses. In addition, the difficulty of diagnosing the virus demonstrates a deficiency in a rapid, virus specific, and accurate diagnostic tool for the family of flaviviruses that ZIKV belongs to. This paper reviews the approved identification methods along with an analysis of the advantage and disadvantages of each, as well as emerging alternative approaches in ZIKV diagnosis. Common problems with currently utilized methods include slow turnover time, limited throughput, need for further testing to confirm diagnosis, narrow sample compatibility, and cross reactivity to DENV and other similar viruses, Although newer methods discussed in the paper, namely Electrogenerated Chemiluminescence (ECL) and Reporter Virus Neutralization Test (RVNT), show improvement in throughput quantity, speed, and efficiency, it is not certain whether these tests are virus specific and will not react in the presence DENV. The rapidity of diagnosis is important in ensuring timely access to treatment as well as tracking and containing future possible epidemics, Concurrently, virus specificity is equally crucial in ensuring correct diagnosis. Thus, the challenge lies in finding the balance between the two.

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