In low-resource settings, resilience to infectious disease outbreaks can be hindered by limited access to diagnostic tests. Here we report the results of double-blinded studies of the performance of paper-based diagnostic tests for the Zika and chikungunya viruses in a field setting in Latin America. The tests involved a cell-free expression system relying on isothermal amplification and toehold-switch reactions, a purpose-built portable reader and onboard software for computer vision-enabled image analysis. In patients suspected of infection, the accuracies and sensitivities of the tests for the Zika and chikungunya viruses were, respectively, 98.5% (95% confidence interval, 96.2–99.6%, 268 serum samples) and 98.5% (95% confidence interval, 91.7–100%, 65 serum samples) and approximately 2 aM and 5 fM (both concentrations are within clinically relevant ranges). The analytical specificities and sensitivities of the tests for cultured samples of the viruses were equivalent to those of the real-time quantitative PCR. Cell-free synthetic biology tools and companion hardware can provide de-centralized, high-capacity and low-cost diagnostics for use in low-resource settings.

30th March 2022 • comment

After the Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas in 2016, both Zika and dengue incidence declined to record lows in many countries in 2017–2018, but in 2019 dengue resurged in Brazil, causing ~2.1 million cases. In this study we use epidemiological, climatological and genomic data to investigate dengue dynamics in recent years in Brazil. First, we estimate dengue virus force of infection (FOI) and model mosquito-borne transmission suitability since the early 2000s. Our estimates reveal that DENV transmission was low in 2017–2018, despite conditions being suitable for viral spread. 

11th May 2021 • comment

*Portuguese content* Com objetivo de avaliar como as famílias dessas crianças foram impactadas, a pesquisa Impactos econômicos e sociais do vírus Zika foi realizada no IFF-Fiocruz, hospital público federal situado no Rio de Janeiro, que atua em ensino, pesquisa e atendimento a mulheres, crianças e adolescentes.

30th March 2021 • comment

The Relative Risk (RR) of sexual partners being ZIKV seropositive when living with a ZIKV-seropositive index participant was significantly higher, while this was not observed among non-sexual partners of the index. For CHIKV, both sexual and non-sexual partner household members living with a CHIKV-seropositive index had a significantly higher risk of being seropositive. 

3rd November 2020 • comment

Zika epidemic and microcephaly in Brazil: Challenges for access to health care and promotion in three epidemic areas

by Paulo Cesar Peiter, Rafael dos Santos Pereira, Martha Cristina Nunes Moreira, Marcos Nascimento, Maria de Fatima Lobato Tavares, Vivian da Cruz Franco, José Joaquin Carvajal Cortês, Daniel de Souza Campos, Christovam Barcellos

Since 2015 Brazil has experienced the social repercussions of the Zika virus epidemic, thus raising a debate about: difficulties of diagnosis; healthcare access for children with Zika Congenital Syndrome (ZCS); the search for benefits by affected families; social and gender inequalities; and a discussion on reproductive rights, among others. The objective of this article is to analyse access to specialized health services for the care of children born with ZCS in three North-eastern states of Brazil. 

14th July 2020 • comment

Science studies have been a field of research for different knowledge areas, and they have been successfully used to analyse the construction of scientific knowledge, practice and dissemination. In this study, we aimed to verify how the Zika epidemic has moulded the scientific articles published worldwide by analysing international collaborations and the knowledge landscape through time, as well as research topics and country involvement.

31st March 2020 • comment
24th January 2020 • comment