UNC and Duke Receive a $3M Federal Grant to Develop Better Diagnostic Tests for Zika

Researchers at UNC are working across departmental lines to answer questions about the Zika Virus. The Department of Medicine's Division of Infectious Disease, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases in collaboration with Duke University, have received a federal grant of $3M to develop a better diagnostic test for Zika.

Researchers at UNC are working at the forefront of the Zika outbreak to answer urgent questions and understand Zika's effect on human health. A $3M federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been awarded to UNC and Duke to develop better diagnostic testing, in partnership with the University of Vermont and the University of Nicaragua-León. A full story can found in the UNC Healthcare News Room

UNC's lead researcher is Dr. Avarinda de Silva with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. His lab has already developed tests for other blood-borne viruses such as dengue and yellow fever.

 In a WUNC news story, Dr. Matthew Collins with the Department of Medicine's Division of Infectious Disease said the group’s research could also lead to better vaccines.

The team hopes to develop a better test to diagnose Zika, which is hard to distinguish from other diseases. The researchers are conducting clinical studies at UNC using blood samples from Central Americans and travelers who have been infected with the virus.

More news coverage can be found in the Triangle Business Journal and at WCHL-Chapelboro.com.