Zika Virus Update Six - Treatment with an Antiviral Peptide

Treating the Zika Virus with an Antiviral Peptide



The situation relative to the Zika virus has changed a bit since our last update back in 2017.Since then, there has been a decline in transmission numbers in the US and its territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In 2016, there were 5,168 cases in the US and 36,512 cases in US territories, with Puerto Rico having the majority of cases. On the other hand, in 2018, so far there were 52 cases in the US and 106 cases in US territories, with Puerto Rico again having the highest number of transmissions of any region.1 The Zika virus is primarily a mosquito-borne illness that causes the most damage to unborn babies if transmitted during pregnancy, leading to microcephaly.2 At the current time, there is no preventative vaccine or treatment available. A new publication in Nature Materials offers some promise by way of a peptide antiviral. The Zika virus has a lipid envelope coating the particles. One antiviral strategy is lipid envelope antiviral disruption (LEAD) and is meant to disable the coating and thereby reducing infectivity of the viral particles. The team, led by Joshua A. Jackman and Vivian V. Costa, designed a D-enantiomer version of alpha-helical HA peptide. Their peptide has 27-residues and D-amino acids were used to decrease proteolytic degradation, resulting in an increase in bioavailability and stability. They found with in vitro studies, that not only did it rupture the virus liposome; it prevented virus-triggered neuronal cell death, even when given post-infection. It showed activity against other viruses such as Dengue, and was found to be non-toxic to mammalian cells. The effects were also tested in vivo in mice and demonstrated blood brain barrier (BBB) penetration and antiviral activity without altering BBB permeability permanently.3 Hopefully this work leads to peptidic antiviral treatments for Zika and other viruses.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/reporting/case-counts.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/zika/pregnancy.html
  3. J.A. Jackman and V.V. Costa et al., Nature Materials, 17(11), 971 (2018).
Industry News , Biologically Active Peptides , Recombinant Proteins

Denise Karounos

See all articles from Denise Karounos

Denise Karounos joined Peptides International in October 2016. After completing her BS in chemistry from West Virginia University, she spent time as an organic chemist at Bachem Bioscience synthesizing peptides and amino acid derivatives. Denise has experience with both solid and solution-phase peptide synthesis, and has worked under both research and cGMP settings. After completing her MBA from Saint Joseph’s University, Denise transitioned into product management of peptides and amino acid derivatives. In her marketing role, she had many duties including but not limited to product management, market research, creating and producing marketing materials, handling US catalog distribution and customer database, email marketing, quoting and inside sales, sales calls, and coordinating and attending trade conferences. 

At PI, Denise's duties encompass both sales and marketing, bringing to bear her extensive lab and sales support experience. Contact her today and see how Denise can assist you with your peptide research project.