A team at Duke has identified the mechanism by which human antibody C10 could interact with Zika virus and prevent infection.
In an article published in Nature Communications, Lok Shee-Mei and her team report using cryoelectron micrography to visualize C10-Zika virus interaction at varying levels of pH. C10 coats the virus and binds to the envelope protein, and does so in a pH-resistant manner. When C10 is bound to the envelope, the virus cannot fuse to host cells. By inhibiting the fusion of the virus to host cells, infection could be stopped at the cellular level at an early stage. Shee-Mei and her colleagues hope that C10 can be developed into a drug to combat Zika virus. Elucidating the mechanism by which C10 operates can allow the development of therapies that effectively neutralize Zika.
Alhough the WHO dropped the label of international "Public Health Emergency" from Zika earlier this month, the virus nevertheless continues to spread in over 60 countries, hitting countries like Brazil especially hard. As Zika infection is linked to serious symptoms, such as microcephaly in infants and possibly Guillain-Barré in adults, it is important that scientists continue to hunt for drugs, using molecules like C10, to fight Zika virus.