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Embarking on research in an outbreak is essential and this needs to begin as early as possible. There is an important transition that needs to be made from collecting samples to manage the clinical cases as they present and for informing public health to gathering data for publication and wide dissemination. This crucial line that has to be crossed needs to happen early if this disease is to be understood and if interventions and management strategies are to be guided and informed by evidence. Therefore this platform has been set up to encourage discussion about what the research priorities are and then support and enable the process of collecting high quality data.

Here the aim is to suggest the research priorities for Zika virus infection. Comments and contributions are important and welcome. Please add your views and information here (link to a discussion forum). In the first instance the list of research priorities are suggested as:

Clinical research

Defining the Natural History of Zika Infection
• Case definition for Zika
• Mechanism of transmission
• Length of the viremia
• Presence of the virus in other body fluids like saliva, urine, or semen
• Frequency and risk factors for complications
• Co-infection with other arbovirus
• Dynamic of immune response to Zika

Infection during pregnancy
• Risk ratio for the potentially increased risk of congenital abnormalities in women infected with Zika virus, adjusted for the time of exposure (week of pregnancy)

Risk factors of CNS congenital abnormalities
• Frequency and the type of congenital abnormalities related to Zika infections
• Potential additional risk factors for congenital abnormalities and their role in socio-economic status

Severe cases surveillance
• Mechanisms related to severe disease: Host response x direct virus damage

ZIKV Diagnostic Development: Assays (acute, recent and late markers)

Viral Infection Biomarkers

Molecular Assays
• Real-Time PCR
• Quantitative Real-Time PCR (qPCR)

Immunological Assays
• IgG
• IgM
• Antigen Capture
• ADE assays

Pathology Biomarkers
• Zika neuropathy markers (diagnostic and prognostic)
• Placental infection (diagnostic and prognostic)

Purpose and uses (patient diagnostic, epidemiological studies of prevalence, incidence)
• Sensitivity
• Specificity (cross-reactivity profile)
• Body fluid or tissue (urine, serum, plasma, vaginal secretion, saliva, sperm)
• Sample volume
• Assay test scale (low throughput X high throughput)
• Cost

Critical reagents
• Assay development sample panels
• Assay validation panel
• Assay performance evaluation comparison method
• Proficiency sample panel (determine e proficiency of a laboratory to perform an diagnostic assay)
• Reference samples and standards (for molecular and immunological assays)
• Zika Monoclonal antibodies
• Zika Antigens (proteins [ENV, NS1 etc] and peptides)
• Viral isolates