With Zika poised to strike in more and more countries, companies are responding by developing new tests that can identify the virus.
For example, Rockville, Md.-based GenArraytion has developed a polymerase chain reaction-based molecular test to identify the Zika virus. It analyzes samples for dengue, yellow fever, Chikungunya, as well as multiple signatures for the Zika virus in a single test. The test will list for $75 with an initial offer of buy three, get one free, says company spokesman Brad Wills.
Meanwhile, Genekam, a German biotechnology company, has developed a highly sensitive DNA test to detect Zika. The test kit — which can detect this virus in human samples and in mosquitoes — costs roughly $6.
Currently, no therapy or vaccine is available for the Zika virus, which is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitos. Prevention is one possible way to stop spread of the virus, Genekam points out.
“The Zika virus has the potential to become a serious epidemic, with as many four million people risking exposure in the next year if the mosquito population isn’t controlled, according to the Pan American Health Organization,” says R. Paul Schaudies, CEO of GenArraytion.
PAHO says it anticipates the Zika virus will continue to spread and will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
The World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency for the spread of Zika last week, calling for a coordinated international response to expedite the development of diagnostic tests. — Jonathon Shacat