A high-quality research program on the emergent Zika virus leveraging innovative technology

The ZIKALERT project, which encompasses the aspects of RESEARCH, VALORIZATION, and TRAINING, aimed to characterize the biology of the emergent Zika virus since its emergence in 2015 in Brazil by proposing anti-infectious combat strategies and providing training on handling this pathogen.

The scientific component of the ZIKALERT program on the emergent Zika virus comprised 5 axes of study that relied on the complementarity of the expertise held by the members of the MOCA team:
1. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of infection by the pathogen.
2. Identification of determinants of pathogen virulence.
3. Development of sensitive and specific detection tools for the pathogen.
4. Identification of antiviral natural substances obtained from endemic medicinal plants in Reunion Island.
5. Development of Zika fever anti-vaccine candidates that utilize attenuated viral strains obtained through reverse genetics.

Over the course of more than 3 years, the work conducted led to the publication of over 30 articles, the filing of 5 patents with the assistance of Inserm Transfert, and the training of around thirty interns and contractual researchers within the UMR PIMIT. ZIKALERT facilitated the strengthening of collaborations with research teams present in the Indian Ocean, mainland France, Europe, and internationally, including in the United States and Brazil.

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Project duration : 2018-2020
Geographical area : Africa and Brazil
Funding : Programmes Opérationnels Européens FEDER 2014-2020, Région Réunion
Global budget : 702 000 €
Amount for PIMIT : 702 000 €
PIMIT coordinator : Philippe DESPRES (PI)
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