The Zika project aims to investigate the association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly and Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS). Together with the department of immunology, the immune response in infected individuals will be studied, both in single or double infections (Zika and dengue / Zika and chikungunya). In addition, the effect of arbovirus outbreak in general and Zika virus in particular on blood transfusion in Curaçao and the Caribbean will be investigated.
The dengue research aims to understand the role of microbial translocation in severe dengue. In addition, studies are conducted to discover biomarkers of severe disease. Together with the department of epidemiology we will sequence virus strains of each outbreak in order to monitor virus circulating endemically and viruses introduced from other regions.
A folk remedy (Phytotherapy) may be an effective treatment for several diseases. The use of botanical remedies for the treatment of various ailments is very popular in Curaçao. The medicinal power of plants should not be trivialized. During the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) outbreak in Curaçao, local plants were used by several patients to alleviate symptoms. There is circumstantial evidence that two plants had a positive effect on symptoms of patients. The department of virology works closely together with national and international collaborators to generate drug candidates for viruses for which there is either no drug available or an existing drug has unacceptable side effects. This will be accomplished by analyzing medicinal plants from Curaçao and together with collaborating partners develop better extracting solutions.
The chikungunya project aims to elucidate the factors that are involved in development of acute and chronic chikungunya. The department of virology together with the department of immunology will study the immune responses involved in acute and chronic disease. Studies are also directed at finding biomarkers that could predict development of chronic arthritis.