When you’re trying to find the answer to a problem it makes sense to explore every avenue possible. The more directions you come from and the more exploration into different answers you employ, the faster you’re likely to discover the answer. So, it makes sense for our scientists to approach beating the Zika virus from every angle. Thankfully, some scientists at Penn Vet are studying the Zika virus from a whole new direction, looking at how the mosquitos are infected with the virus in the first place.
Since we catch the Zika virus from mosquitos doesn’t it make sense to look at how they are infected with it? According to experts, the mosquito’s immune system is incredibly strong. Within minutes of being exposed to a threatening pathogen the mosquito’s immune response goes on red alert. This makes sense, as their anti-viral defenses are heavily influenced by the many many bacteria that regulate their stomachs and ability to digest food. Experts argue that we need to understand the immune response of the mosquito before we can explore how we can escape the clutches of the Zika virus. Since their immune response is already so strong, it’s possible that creating a genetically altered mosquito that is completely immune to the disease could be achieved in the near future. If mosquitos can’t catch it, then neither can we.
What other possible approached to solving this Zika virus epidemic do you think could prove beneficial?