A collaborative effort between Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) has led to the discovery of how the human antibody C10 prevents Zika virus infection, further pushing the quest for a cure of the virus that has plagued the world in recent years.
The Zika virus first “docks” on the cell; the virus then initiates its “fusion” process via the modification of proteins on the virus coat in order to merge with the endosome, a gateway compartment to the body.
To combat the Zika virus, the researchers employed cryoelectron microscopy, a method that enables the visualization of small particles, to observe the interaction of C10 with the Zika virus at different pH levels to simulate the variations of the human body. C10 exhibited a neutralizing behavior, thwarting the Zika virus from completing its “fusion” step by latching on to the main proteins of the virus coat. The study highlighted C10s potential as a much-needed therapeutic for the foreboding virus.