Scientists call for intensive research into viable Zika virus treatment options

Scientists are on a mission to stop the Zika virus. | Courtesy of Shutterstock

Scientists are on a mission to find a cure for, or long-term solution to, the Zika virus. 

Researchers that attended the recent Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) event called for focused research after the two-day meeting.

"The bottom line is that there is yet much to learn about Zika," Marcos Espinal, director of PAHO/WHO's Department of Communicable Diseases, said. "We have made some progress, but we still need to learn much more about this virus. Laboratory detection, epidemiology, the dynamics of arboviral diseases, mapping new vector control tools -- these are among our priority research topics today."

Renowned researchers from around the world attended the conference. Representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PAHO/WHO, the Pasteur Institute and the Oswald Cruz Foundation are looking to increase research and knowledge regarding the virus.

"Brazil is at the heart of this epidemic, and our surveillance system lets us identify this epidemic rapidly and communicate it to PAHO, and link it with microcephaly," Paulo Buss, a doctor with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, said.

Buss elaborated by saying the international community, in addition to researchers from universities and funding agencies, must show unity to successfully research the virus.

Amadou Sall, Pasteur Institute doctor, agreed.

"It is critically important to share experiences and information on Zika to develop new tools," he said.

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