Fiocruz, a body linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, found the presence of active Zika virus (with potential to cause infection) in saliva and urine samples, according to a Oswaldo Cruz Foundation statement Friday (computer translated).

This is a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus/Cynthia Goldsmith
This is a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus/ Cynthia Goldsmith

The unpublished evidence, which suggests the need to investigate the relevance of these alternative routes of virus transmission was observed by Flavivirus of Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (IOC / Fiocruz).

The studies were led by researcher Myrna Bonaldo, head of the Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Evandro Chagas (INI / Fiocruz).

According to the statement, samples from two patients with the symptoms of Zika infection were analyzed. Aliquots of the samples were placed in contact with Vero cells, which are widely used in studies of viral activity in the case of the flavivirus family, which belong to the Zika virus, dengue and yellow fever, among others.

Scientists have observed the cytopathic effect (CPE) of the cells, which indicate vial activity.

The presence of the genetic material of zika virus was confirmed by RT-PCR in Real Time. It was also performed the partial sequencing of the virus genome. Laboratory diagnosis ruled out the presence of dengue virus and chikungunya – for these analyzes, we used the NAT Kit Discriminatory for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika recently developed by Fiocruz.

“It was known that the virus could be present in both urine and saliva. This is the first time we’ve demonstrated that the virus is active, ie, with the potential to cause infection, which opens new paradigms for understanding the transmission routes of the Zika virus. That answers an important question, however, the understanding of the epidemiological relevance of these potential routes of infection further studies” notes Myrna Bonaldo.