Anjali Anna Ernest

Thesis title: Inhibition of Zika Virus by hybrid Interferons


MSc Medical Microbiology - Keele University (2022)

BSc Biomedical Science - Keele University (2021)

Research summary

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a re-emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus. In most cases, ZIKV infection is mild and resolves on its own; however, it is also linked to severe developmental abnormalities like microcephaly in foetuses and other neurological diseases like Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. Currently, we have no specific treatment or vaccine available for ZIKV infection.

Interferons (IFN) are our body’s first line of defence against viruses. Working with our industrial partner ILC Therapeutics, we have access to novel hybrid interferons, and we aim to test if these IFN derivatives have antiviral activity against ZIKV. This study will enable us to understand how hybrid IFNs might control ZIKV infection (using different lineage viruses) and reveal the differences in therapeutic responsiveness according to different viral genotypes.