China said it has decoded the gene sequence of the Zika virus, which was extracted from the country’s first patient.
The decoding will help scientists understand variations and develop bacteria and reagents for the mosquito-borne disease. So far, China has reported five infections since it confirmed the first Zika case on Feb. 9 in the eastern province of Jiangxi.
A hospital in Guangzhou city in south China’s Guangdong Province has also decoded the gene sequence from a Zika-infected patient.
So far, some 36 countries around the world have reported Zika infections. With the virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization declared Zika a global health emergency on Feb. 1, saying that it needs $56 million for research and development of vaccines.
Some researchers now think the Zika virus could become even more prevalent as the planet continues to warm over the next few decades. They say climate change could cause many more people to become exposed to the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry and transmit Zika, are sensitive to temperature. The warmer it is, the faster those mosquitoes develop from egg to adult.
Experts have warned that some of the places that were once considered hostile to mosquitoes could soon become friendlier environments.
“So we think it’s a matter of the climate becoming more suitable through global warming for the mosquito to be able to establish in higher elevation cities like Mexico City,” said Andrew Monaghan, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the U.S..
Meanwhile, scientists say socioeconomic factors like population growth, the presence of water-filled containers where mosquitoes breed, and air conditioning not available to many global residents could affect the disease’s spread.
Story by CCTV NEWS.