Fast-track diagnostics develops kit to detect Zika virus
In response to the current Zika virus outbreak, Fast-track diagnostics has produced a Zika virus assay.
Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms, which normally last for 2-7 days, are usually a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema) and conjunctivitis. The disease can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women as it is thought to increase the incidence of birth defects. Evidence also suggests an association between the Zika virus infection and an increased risk of congenital microcephaly and other abnormalities of the brain and eye.
As there is no specific vaccine or treatment currently available, it is advised the best way to prevent the disease is to protect against mosquito bites.
The virus is currently known to be circulating in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
Diagnosis, as confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), should be carried out using PCR (polymerase chain reation) and/or IgM. Diagnosis by serology can be difficult as the virus can cross react with other flaviviruses such as dengue, West Nile and yellow fever. The RT-PCR FTD Zika virus assay detects the NS5 region as recommended by the WHO.
It is important to note that the period of viremia can be short and RT-PCR should be tested on serum collected within 1 to 3 days of symptom onset or on urine samples collected during the first 3 to 5 days.
Further information on the FTD Zika virus kit can be found here.
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