UP born researcher Devika Sirohi part of US team that determined Zika virus structure

Devika SirohiDevika Sirohi, a doctoral research student from Uttar Pradesh, is among the seven-member US team of researchers that has successfully determined the structure of the Zika virus for the first time.

Sirohi, 29, who was born and brought up in Meerut city, is a doctoral student at Purdue University in the US and the youngest member of the team. She was among the seven-member team, which included three professors and four students.

Their research will help develop effective anti-viral treatments and vaccines.

The Zika virus that manifested itself in a major outbreak of the disease in Brazil last year, has since spread to many countries in Europe and the Americas.

Health officials the world over are trying to better understand the Zica virus and its effects on human health amid growing concerns that could get out of control.

According to Sirohi, the researchers took four months to identify the structure of the virus. "During the period of the research, we barely slept for two to three hours a day, but our hard work finally paid off. This discovery will help doctors and researchers to find a cure for the deadly disease that has been reported in 33 countries," reports quoted her as saying.

Sirohi, who will be submitting her thesis by the end of this year, completed her schooling from Dayawati Modi Academy, honours in biochemistry from Delhi University and MSc from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai

Her father SS Sirohi, a pathologist based in Delhi, said he was proud not just because his daughter was part of the project, but that India was part of the breakthrough.

Zika is carried by mosquitoes, which transmit the virus to humans. Zika has not been proven to cause microcephaly in babies, but there is growing evidence that suggests a link.

The condition is defined by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems.