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Identification of putative unique immunogenic ZIKV and DENV1-4 peptides for diagnostic cellular based tests.

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Since the re-emergence of Zika virus in 2014 and subsequent association with microcephaly, much work has focused on the development of a vaccine to halt its spread throughout the world. The mosquito vector that transmits this virus is widespread and responsible for the spread of other arboviridae including Dengue. Current diagnostic methods rely on serologic testing that are complicated by cross reactivity and therefore unable to distinguish Zika from Dengue infection in the absence of virus isolation. We performed an in silico analysis to identify potential epitopes that may stimulate a unique T-lymphocyte response to distinguish prior infection with Zika or Dengue. From this analysis, we not only identified epitopes unique to Zika and Dengue, but also identified epitopes unique to each Dengue serotype. These peptides contribute to a pool of peptides identified for vaccine development that can be tested in vitro to confirm immunogenicity, absence of homology and global population coverage. The current lack of accurate diagnostic testing hampers our ability to understand the scope of the epidemic, implications for vaccine implementation and complications related to monoinfection and co-infection with these two closely related viruses.

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