The Zika Challenge
New England Journal of Medicine March 31, 2016
Charlotte J. Haug, M.D., Ph.D., Marie Paule Kieny, Ph.D., and Bernadette Murgue, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Haug is an international correspondent for the Journal; Dr. Kieny is the assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, and Dr. Murgue the project manager of the WHO R&D Blueprint, at the World Health Organization, Geneva.
“There are many viruses that have similar characteristics to dengue, yellow fever, and Zika that have the potential to emerge. We don’t know why Zika emerged now.
But we know how to develop surveillance systems that will allow us to pick these viruses up if they start to move as Zika has.”
This starting point was outlined by tropical medicine expert Duane Gubler at a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Geneva in early March.
Gubler has spent his career studying tropical infectious diseases with an emphasis on dengue virus (DENV), a flavivirus closely related to Zika virus (ZIKV).1
His introductory presentation at the international meeting about the ZIKV challenge emphasized the complexity of the flavivirus–host relationship and the inevitability, thanks to urbanization and globalization, of emergence and spread of viruses that were previously confined to small, remote geographic areas…
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