Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease initially limited to sporadic cases in Africa and Asia. With the recent emergence of the Zika virus in Brazil in 2015, the virus rapidly spread throughout America. Even though most of the Zika virus infections have a mild influenza-like illness, severe manifestations were also observed, including Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults and microcephaly in babies born to infected mothers. Due to the severity of this disease, structural virologists quickly studied its different features. But, even with the elucidation of the viral genome, an effective treatment or suitable vaccine is not available for this disease so far. The viral vectors, pathogenesis, genetic diversity, and co-infection with other diseases remain unanswered. The production of an effective vaccine is hence a global health concern. This chapter discusses the emergence of the Zika virus and its detailed genome structure and replication cycle. The molecular pathogenesis and Zika viral therapeutics with detailed descriptions about the host and viral targets, investigational drugs, and vaccine candidates are explained here.
Keywords: Drug Discovery, Genome Structure, Host Protein Targets, Molecular Pathogenesis, Protease, RNA Polymerase, Vaccine, Viral Protein Targets, Zika Virus, Zika Virus Diagnostics, Zika virus Life Cycle.