The Zika Response Working Group
Dedicated to Preventing Zika Fetal and Neurological Syndromes
The relationship between infection with Zika virus and primary microcephaly meets most accepted criteria for causality, and it has become clear that Zika infection during pregnancy is associated with a cluster of birth defects known as Zika Fetal Syndrome. A causal linkage between Zika infection and Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) is plausible, but analysis is complicated by regional co-endemnicity of Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. The World Health Organization considers the link between Zika and GBS to be “Highly probable”. Causal relationships and understanding of Zika disease must be determined before investing large amounts of resources in the rapid development and testing of specific medical countermeasures.
The Zika Response Working Group, under the pending non-profit non-governmental organization iOrg (Infectious Outbreak Response Group), is rapidly responding to critical needs. Our activities are focused on;
· Threat and risk assessment and determination
· Identifying existing licensed drugs likely to have anti-Zika activity
· Modeling the outbreak to help inform government and corporate planning
· Geo-spatial tracking and sequence analysis
· Computational immunology and comparative proteome analysis including epitope mapping
· Using surveys and alternative media to track the spread of Zika virus, Zika disease, Zika communication, and to identify the unmet needs of medical caregivers and their patients
· Diagnostics and diagnostic technology research and development
· Development, manufacturing and production of medical countermeasures for Zika disease (devices, drugs, biologicals, and vaccines)
· Facilitating clinical trial design/clinical protocol development for rapid testing of preventative and therapeutic treatments
· Expediting clinical development to licensure of diagnostics, devices, drugs, biotherapies and vaccines to prevent Zika Fetal syndrome and GBS
Our group is united by a commitment to enable rapid responses to the global human threat posed by Zika virus.
We also believe that, while speed is essential when managing an emerging infectious disease outbreak, it is also important to first observe, analyze, think, discuss, and then to act.