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In an attempt to discern this risk for the Zika virus, a team of researchers co-led by an anthropologist from Washington University in St. Louis are trying to determine whether nonhuman primates in South America have been infected with the disease, which first showed up in humans there in 2015. But first they need a noninvasive way to test the animals for the virus.
"These animals could be reservoirs and humans could then become infected with the virus from the animals," said Krista Milich, assistant professor of biological anthropology in Arts & Sciences.
Viruses - Cycles - Humans - Primate - Reservoirs
This happens in related viruses, she said. "There are feedback cycles, where humans are being exposed through non-human primate reservoirs," said Milich, who along with Benjamin Koestler, a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biosciences at the University of Texas, Austin, led the study recently published in PLOS ONE. The researchers determined that the Zika virus can be detected using **** samples.
The virus can be found in a host of bodily fluids: ****, urine, blood and saliva. Getting those samples, however, requires capturing the animals; a risky proposition for all primates involved.
Option - Virus - **** - Research - Team
The easier option would be to test for the virus in ****, but only one research team has reported success in doing so, and that team did not publish its methods. "Ours goes on to provide the method used so people can follow it if they want," Milich said.
It's not surprising that there is not yet a method for collecting the virus in ****. Although Zika has been present in Africa and Asia since the 1940s, researchers hadn't been looking for it in the Americas until it arrived around 2015. Once researchers did start to look for the virus in the Americas, the tests available were of other fluids, not ****.
Milich - Research
That, Milich said, is because wildlife research is often "limited...
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