Identifying Candidate Targets of Immune Responses in Zika Virus Based on Homology to Epitopes in Other Flavivirus Species

Discussion The current outbreak of ZIKV infections has resulted in a massive effort to accelerate the development of ZIKV specific diagnostics and vaccines. These efforts would benefit greatly from the definition of the specific epitope targets of immune responses in ZIKV, but given the relatively recent emergence of ZIKV as a pandemic threat, few such data are available. We used a large body of epitope data for other Flaviviruses that was available from the IEDB for a comparative analysis against the ZIKV proteome in order to project targets of immune responses in ZIKV and their potential properties. The most common approach to diagnose if a person has been infected with ZIKV in the past has been to test by serology if there are antibodies present in the patient’s blood that recognize ZIKV antigens. Several such serological tests exist that probe for the presence of anti-ZIKV antibodies. However, such tests are often unable to distinguish between ZIKV infections and infections with other Flaviviruses, due to the large potential for cross-reactivity27,28,29,30. Our epitope based analysis provides guidance on which components of ZIKV are most likely unique targets of ZIKV specific antibodies (which should be included in a ZIKV specific diagnostic test), and which targets in ZIKV are most likely to be cross-reactive with other Flavivirus species (which should be excluded in a ZIKV specific diagnostic test). In addition to antibody-based tests for ZIKV infection, it is a...
Source: PLOS Currents Outbreaks - Category: Epidemiology Authors: Source Type: research

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