University of Michigan researchers crack code of Zika protein

file3411261391724Researchers at the University of Michigan say they’re one step closer to developing a vaccine for the Zika virus.

The Zika virus, like several other viral infections including Dengue Fever and West Nile, uses a protein called NS1.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have built a model of that protein and mapped what makes the protein in Zika unique.

Janet Smith is a professor of biological chemistry at the University of Michigan. She said having an accurate answer is particularly important for pregnant women.

“It’s possible that the protein could be used as the basis for more accurate diagnostic tests to figure out in the recent past if someone has been infected with Zika.”

Smith said U of M researchers are working with a lab to develop a diagnostic tool.

The hope, she said, is that the knowledge of the protein would eventually lead to a vaccine.