David Andreu Martinez
New strategies to combat Zika
David Andreu Martínez
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Spain
The Zika virus is a global threat that is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. In recent years, globalization and climate change have contributed to the spread of the virus to more than seventy countries around the world. Brazil is one of the countries most affected, especially since the outbreak of 2015.
The primary risk group is pregnant women. The virus is able to cross both the placental barrier and the hematoencephalic barrier of the fetus and cause microcephaly and other neurological problems in newborn children, resulting in great economic and social cost.
Until now, no effective treatment has been found for Zika. This project, with the participation of Brazilian scientists, investigates new strategies to inactivate the virus by means of the placental and haematoencephalic barriers. This will involve the development of intelligent molecules capable of accessing the fetal brain through the pregnant mother, thereby protecting both women and their babies.
Miguel Augusto Rico Botas Castanho (Co-Leader), Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM), Portugal
Andrea Thompson da Poian, Instituto de Bioquímica Médica Leopoldo de Meis, Brasil
Fighting Zika virus with antiviral peptides and conjugates translocating blood-placental and blood-brain barriers