Zika: From Lush Forest to Pandemic
Before the Zika fever had hit the headlines, Zika was known amongst the scientific community and birdwatchers as an overgrown tropical forest of Uganda, a protected area of about 25 hectares for research under the Uganda Virus Research Institute.
The Zika virus (ZIKV), causative organism of the Zika fever, is a member of the family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus. Genome of the Zika virus is a single stranded, non-segmented, positive sense 10794 bases long RNA1 that encodes a 3419 amino acid long polyprotein. The polyprotein is subsequently cleaved into smaller proteins: the capsid (C), the precursor membrane (prM), the envelope (E), and the non-structural proteins (NS). The C proteins form the 25-30 nm diameter icosahedral capsid which is surrounded by a host-membrane derived lipid bilayer containing the envelop proteins E and M. The virion has a diameter of 40 nm and has surface projections of 5-10 nm. Read more. . .