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Researchers from the University of Oxford teamed up with the Angolan Ministry of Health to study the introduction and circulation of the Asian genotype of Zika virus in Angola, southwestern Africa. The Asian genotype caused the 2015-16 epidemic of microcephaly and other birth defects in the Americas.

Their findings are published today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

In 2017 Angola started reporting cases of microcephaly in newborns. Until that point only the African genotype of Zika was known to circulate in Africa.

Researchers from Oxford’s Department of Zoology and the Instituto Nacional de Investigação em Saúde in Luanda, followed up on reports of microcephaly cases in Angola, which they suspected could be caused by Zika virus infection in pregnancy. They carried out molecular testing and genome sequencing to understand the virus’s genetic history and its epidemiology in this ground-breaking genomic detective work. This is the first time that complete virus genomes have been generated on-site in Angola.

Read more (University of Oxford website)

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