GeneTex Releases New Line of Antibodies to Detect Zika Virus Proteins

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Novel portfolio of antibodies to augment researchers' efforts against Zika virus

GeneTex is excited to introduce a new line of research antibodies against Zika virus proteins to facilitate research into this dangerous pathogen.

GeneTex, Inc., a research antibody manufacturer, is proud to announce the release of a set of nine antibodies against eight proteins encoded by the Zika virus (ZIKV) genome, including Capsid, M, Envelope (E), NS1, NS2B, NS3, NS4B, and NS5 proteins. The utility of these antibodies was independently validated by western blot on protein extracts from ZIKV-infected Vero cells. In addition, preliminary immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy staining suggests that several of GeneTex's Zika antibodies can distinguish ZIKV-infected cells from those infected by Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) or by the four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV). For more information on these antibodies, visit:

ZIKV, first found in Uganda’s Zika forest more than 60 years ago, exploded into international prominence in 2015. This mosquito-borne flavivirus had its first reported outbreak in 2007, followed by a larger event in 2013 in French Polynesia and the present outbreak in Brazil that has spread throughout much of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Nearly 70 countries and territories have documented ZIKV transmission since 2007.

As noted above, ZIKV belongs to the family Flaviviridae and specifically the Spondweni serocomplex. Similar to the related pathogenic West Nile, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and DEN viruses, ZIKV is a positive-sense, single-stranded, enveloped RNA virus with a genome of just under 10.8 kilobases. This genome is translated by the host cell’s machinery to generate three structural and seven non-structural proteins. While multiple mosquito species from the genus Aedes can transmit ZIKV, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the primary vectors given their broad geographic distribution. At the present time, the only known reservoirs of ZIKV are monkeys and humans.

While about 80% of ZIKV infections are asymptomatic, the virus can cause influenza-like symptoms and other clinical manifestations including conjunctivitis. Infection has been linked to cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome and possibly other neurological and autoimmune conditions. Most concerning is the increasingly robust evidence supporting an association between ZIKV and microcephaly (and other neurodevelopmental problems, including ocular abnormalities) in newborns from infected mothers. In addition to perinatal transmission, the virus can be sexually transmitted, with replicative virus particles detectable in semen for at least two months from symptom onset.

ZIKV infection is diagnosed by serological, cytokine profiling, and RT-PCR testing. The serological assays can be cumbersome and can fail to clearly identify ZIKV in the presence of DENV or other flaviviruses due to the presence of cross-reacting antibodies or to non-specific reactivity. Thus, RT-PCR has become the method of choice to diagnose acute ZIKV infection in patients.

The addition of these nine new GeneTex antibody reagents to the armamentarium of ZIKV and flavivirus researchers should greatly facilitate future basic and clinical research efforts. GeneTex’s IF assays using fixed cells infected with either ZIKV, each of the four serotypes of DENV, or CHIKV indicate that at least four of these new antibody reagents (M, NS2B, E, and NS4B) are either completely or largely specific for ZIKV. Further testing will be required to fully establish cross-reactivity. These antibodies may afford researchers the opportunity to study ZIKV biology in the context of cells infected by other flaviviruses such as DENV, which models a situation encountered in endemic zones. Importantly, they may also offer novel insight into the development of highly specific tools for clinical detection of ZIKV infection in patients.

About GeneTex: GeneTex started operations in San Antonio, Texas in 1997. The company was founded by scientists with recognized expertise in clinical oncology, cancer biology and infectious disease. Based on their breadth of experience and research interests, the company's initial focus was breast cancer biology and prognostic marker research. This evolved to incorporate a comprehensive portfolio of immunological reagents used by scientists studying the underlying mechanisms common to many forms of cancer. GeneTex’s product portfolio has since expanded to cover research areas including cancer, cell biology, epigenetics, immunology, infectious disease, metabolism, neuroscience, signal transduction, stem cell development and zebrafish biology.

In 2009, GeneTex’s US office relocated to Irvine, California to be more centrally located to the biotechnology hub in Southern California, which coincided with the construction of a state-of-the-art high-capacity manufacturing facility. By 2011, GeneTex had grown to become a multinational organization and one of the largest antibody manufacturers.

In 2011, GeneTex launched a comprehensive catalog of antibodies against DENV proteins. This marked the start of an extensive research and development initiative focused on generating antibodies against various flaviviruses. GeneTex currently maintains a catalog of antibodies against DENV, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C virus, Powassan virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, and now Zika virus.

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Alex Ball
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GeneTex, Inc
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