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Zika structure mapped for first time

3-D image of virus could provide clues to how to fight it

2:00pm, March 31, 2016
Zika structure

NEW VIEW  Sugars (shown red in this 3-D reconstruction) poking out from the shell of Zika virus could potentially help the virus target neural stem cells.  

Zika now has a face to go with the name.

New microscopy images of the virus reveal a bumpy, golf ball‒shaped structure, similar to that of the dengue and West Nile viruses, researchers report March 31 in Science. It’s the first time scientists have gotten a good look at Zika, the infamous virus that has invaded the Americas and stoked fears that it is causing birth defects and a rare autoimmune disease (SN: 4/2/16, p. 26).

Cracking Zika’s structure is like getting the blueprints of an enemy’s base: Now scientists have a better idea of where to attack. “This certainly gives us great hope that we will be able to find a vaccine or antiviral compounds,” says study coauthor Michael Rossmann of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., who’s known for mapping the first

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