The ZIKA virus (ZIKV) transmits from animal to human host via Aedes mosquitoes. A human-to-human transmission has been observed via sexual route and there is evidence of ZIKA virus survival in semen up to 69 days post-infection. Therefore, further approaches for prevention and control of sexual transmission of ZIKV are needed to limit the spread of the virus.
A recent study showed that a viral polymerase inhibitor 7-deaza-2’-C-methyladenosine (7-DMA) reduces the load of viral RNA and infectious virus in mice testicles.
Male immunodeficient mice were infected with ZIKV isolate Suriname SL1602 and treated either with 7-DMA (from Carbosynth) or with a negative control. Infected mice received 7-DMA on a daily basis starting from day 0 to day 10 post-infection.
The viral RNA was monitored in testis, epididymis and plasma, and infectious viral load from testicular tissue was recorded. The 7-DMA treated mice presented with undetectable levels of infectious virus and decreased levels of ZIKV RNA in testicles 7 days post-infection. The inhibition of viral replication was also confirmed by reduced levels of ZIKV antigens in testicular tissues 10 days post-infection.
The treatment with antiviral 7-DMA didn’t completely abolish the replication of ZIKV in male reproductive organs but was able to maintain reduced viral load in testicles even beyond the end of antiviral treatment.
For more details, read the original paper published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences: Jacobs et al., 2019.