Human life has been at the edge of catastrophe for millennia due diseases which emerge and reemerge at random. The recent outbreak of the Zika virus (ZIKV) is one such menace that shook the global public health community abruptly. Modern technologies, including computational tools as well as experimental approaches, need to be harnessed fast and effectively in a coordinated manner in order to properly address such challenges. In this paper, based on our earlier research, we have proposed a four-pronged approach to tackle the emerging pathogens like ZIKV: (a) Epidemiological modelling of spread mechanisms of ZIKV; (b) assessment of the public health risk of newly emerging strains of the pathogens by comparing them with existing strains/pathogens using fast computational sequence comparison methods; (c) implementation of vaccine design methods in order to produce a set of probable peptide vaccine candidates for quick synthesis/production and testing in the laboratory; and (d) designing of novel therapeutic molecules and their laboratory testing as well as validation of new drugs or repurposing of drugs for use against ZIKV. For each of these stages, we provide an extensive review of the technical challenges and current state-of-the-art. Further, we outline the future areas of research and discuss how they can work together to proactively combat ZIKV or future emerging pathogens.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: S.M. was supported by George Michailidis during his time n University of Florida.
- 2D graphical method
- Computer-assisted anti-Zika drug discovery
- Mahalanobis distance
- Neighborhood matrix
- Peptide vaccine design
- Principal component analysis (PCA)
- SIR models
- Viral epidemics
- Zika virus (ZIKV)