Infectious diseases may fade out of the news headlines after the initial crisis passes but that does not mean the research work should stop. Quite the contrary. It must continue to help affected populations. The Zika research by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), for example, is still going on to further understand the disease and accelerate diagnostics and therapeutics.
FAPESP started financing projects on Zika research in 2016, giving additives to ongoing virology projects in a fast-track system. The GloPID-R members had an opportunity to meet in São Paulo in December 2016 to hear firsthand from the researchers about the results of the current Zika research projects.
By March 2017, the universities and research institutes based in São Paulo had already published 78 papers representing 4.38% of 1,778 publications by 290 research institutions throughout the world (Web of Science).
Notably, a group of FAPESP-supported scientists described in Nature (Cugola, FR et al. (2016) 534 (7606):267-71) a reproduction of the course of human pathogenesis in a mice model. Zika virus inoculation of pregnant mice resulted in severe damage of the offspring, resembling human disease, with central nervous system damage, ocular impairment and intra-uterine growth restriction. This was the first experimental research stating the causal correlation between ZIKV and congenital defects in experimental models.
This is just one example of the research efforts made in São Paulo, Brazil, sponsored by FAPESP, and more can be found in this newsletter. Like all GloPID-R members, FAPESP is committed to sharing these important results with other funders who are working to fight viral infections throughout the world.
Walter Colli, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Biochemistry Associate to FAPESP Science Director GloPID-R Vice-Chair