Now a new gene-editing study finds protective genes against
The study was published in the Journal of Virology

Scientists from Tel Aviv university, Israel, have discovered certain genes that protect the host organism against attack by Zika virus, raising hopes of an eventual vaccine or cure for this dreaded viral disease.

The Zika virus, which is rampant in South America, can cause severe damage especially to unborn babies, including fetal death or stillbirth, or serious birth defects which are collectively called the congenital Zika syndrome. This includes such issues as a significant and crippling reduction in head size (microcephaly), neurological anomalies, and retarded development. Over 60 million people have been affected so far by this insect-borne virus, which can also cause the paralyzing disease Guillain-Barre syndrome and other nerve illnesses. However, scientists have not come up with a vaccine or cure for this devastating disease.

The current study from Tel Aviv University made use of a genetic screen for the entire genome, using a modified gene-editing technique based on CRISPR-Cas9 technology. This is a platform derived from nature, and plays a role in editing the genome in bacteria under natural conditions. It has been adapted for use in mammalian cells under experimental conditions.

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