Episode 15: How did we figure out that Zika can be sexually transmitted?
Unlike most diseases transmitted by blood feeders, the Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually. Find out how this surprising fact was discovered, what it has to do with the 1975 Nobel prize, and how it shapes public health recommendations.
In this episode, three major case studies are discussed. The first is the original article describing the possibility of sexual transmission. The second is a case where a man transmitted the Zika virus to his wife weeks after he recovered from his symptoms. The final paper is our first documentation of a woman transmitting Zika virus to a man by sexual contact. I also go over a summary of the CDC's recommendation for those people concerned about sexual transmission.
In this video, he describes RT-PCR in a laboratory setting, but it works the same way when we are identifying viruses. The source and what we do with the information we find are the only differences. If you look up "RT PCR" you might find a different technique where the "RT" stands for "Real Time" instead of "Reverse Transcriptase." Real Time (also called Quantitative) PCR is for determining how many copies of a particular strand of DNA are in a sample. As we hear in the episode Reverse Transcriptase PCR is for taking strands of RNA copying them into DNA, then making a lot of copies.
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