GeneTex Releases Extensive Line of Research Antibodies to Detect Zika Virus Proteins

IRVINE, Calif., June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — GeneTex, Inc., a research antibody manufacturer, is proud to announce the release of a collection of antibodies against eight proteins encoded by the Zika virus (ZIKV) genome, including Capsid, M, Envelope (E), NS1, NS2B, NS3, NS4B, and NS5 proteins.  These antibodies were independently validated by western blot on protein extracts from ZIKV-infected Vero cells. In addition, preliminary immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy staining suggests that several of GeneTex’s Zika antibodies can distinguish ZIKV-infected cells from those infected by Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) or by the four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV).

ZIKV, first found in Uganda’s Zika forest more than 60 years ago, exploded into international prominence in 2015. The present outbreak was first reported in Brazil and has spread throughout much of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

ZIKV belongs to the family Flaviviridae and specifically the Spondweni serocomplex. Similar to West Nile and Dengue viruses, ZIKV is a positive-sense, single-stranded, enveloped RNA virus with a genome of just under 10.8 kilobases. This genome is translated by the host cell’s machinery to generate three structural and seven non-structural proteins. While multiple mosquito species from the genus Aedes can transmit ZIKV, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the primary vectors given their broad geographic distribution.  At the present time, the only known reservoirs of ZIKV are monkeys and humans.

While about 80% of ZIKV infections are asymptomatic, the virus can cause influenza-like symptoms and other clinical manifestations. Infection has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome and possibly other neurological conditions. Most concerning is the robust evidence supporting an association between ZIKV and microcephaly in newborns from infected mothers. In addition to perinatal transmission, the virus can be sexually transmitted, with replicative virus particles detectable in semen for at least two months.

The addition of these antibody reagents should greatly facilitate basic and clinical research efforts. GeneTex’s IF assays indicate that at least four of their antibody reagents (M, NS2B, E, and NS4B) are either completely or largely specific for ZIKV. Further testing will be required to fully determine cross-reactivity.  These antibodies may afford researchers the opportunity to study ZIKV biology in the context of cells infected by other flaviviruses such as DENV, which models a situation encountered in endemic zones. They may also offer novel insight into the development of tools for clinical detection of ZIKV infection in patients. 

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Alex Ball
(949) 553-1900



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