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Zika Virus FAQs

What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is a single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family, genus Flavivirus (which also includes the  Dengue, and West Nile Viruses). Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. For more information on the disease, please refer to the CDC website.


Is Zika a new virus?

No. According to the CDC, Zika previously has been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. Since that time, local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.


Does ATCC distribute the Zika virus?

Yes, Zika virus (ATCC® VR-84™) strain MR766 has been distributed by ATCC since 1953. The virus is available through ATCC, and our designated International Distributors, for Research Purposes Only. Due to the recent high demand, the strain is currently on backorder pending production of a new lot.


What was the source of ATCC® VR-84™ MR 766 strain?

The virus was deposited into ATCC by Dr. Jordi Casals of the Rockefeller Foundation Virus Laboratory in 1953. The original source was isolated in 1947 from the blood of an experimental forest sentinel rhesus monkey in Uganda.


Who can obtain Zika virus from ATCC?

Zika virus is classified as a biological safety level (BSL) 2 pathogen. In order to request Zika virus from ATCC, requestors and their institutions must demonstrate they have appropriate facilities and safety programs (in accordance with Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) guidelines) in place for the level of the material requested. Only qualified researchers and laboratories are eligible to order and receive Zika virus from ATCC.


How does ATCC ensure the safety of its shipments?

All ATCC shipments meet all domestic and global regulatory requirements for packaging, labeling and shipping of hazardous biological materials.