In recent years, Flaviviruses such as Zika virus (ZIKV), Dengue, Chikungunya, West Nile, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis and Tick-Borne Encephalitis were responsible for many cases of diseases. The 2014-2016 large outbreak of ZIKV in Latin America was accompanied with cases of microcephaly in newborns which were not reported in Africa, in-spite of the fact that ZIKV has already been circulating in Africa for >50 years. Recent findings suggest that this effect may be associated with antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) due to previous exposure to other Flaviviruses such as Dengue, which exists in Latin America, but not in Africa. This raises the concern that Flaviviruses vaccines including yellow fever and Tick Born Encephalitis (TBE), may also increase the risk following ZIKV infections. A recent study has provided evidence for the correlation between anti-Dengue antibody titers and the severity of secondary Dengue infections. Therefore, a serological detection tool of anti-Flavivirus antibodies may predict the severity of a new Flavivirus infection.
- There are multiple uses for the KIT including; (1) assessing ADE risk in pregnant women; (2) identify risk of complications following ZIKAV infection; (3) study the correlation between previous exposures to flavivirus infections and vaccines and the risk for embryo defects using clinical samples from ongoing studies in South America; and (4) study the safety profile of Flavivirus vaccines.
- The Kit based on A rapid, cost-effective antigen microarray that can simlutaneously test antibody binding for all Flaviviruses using minimal amounts of serum samples.
- The assay will be supported by A prediction algorithm that will identify the specific cross-reactivity profiles associated with ADE.
Dr. Tomer Hertz, NIBN and the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel