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From Antivirals to Zika: NCPV in 2017

A study by researchers based in the UK and US used an NCPV strain of human rhinovirus (HRV strain 1B) to demonstrate a potential role for cathelicins as part of a therapeutic strategy for rhinovirus infection1. This is an important development because although HRVs are frequently linked to the common cold, they are also associated with significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised individuals and patients with pre-existing pulmonary conditions.  NCPV provides 57 different HRV strains and this particular study was highlighted as part of our review of NCPV strains cited in published research in 2017.

Scientists in the Netherlands and US furthered our understanding of the pathogenesis of picornaviruses by identifying a lipid-modifying enzyme, PLA2G16, as a picornavirus host factor required for an event that was previously unknown in the viral life cycle. This study used NCPV Coxsackie A4 virus H08302 5092.

Although Zika virus (ZIKV) no longer generates the global press interest afforded over the past few years, research to combat ZIKV infection continues. There are no specific therapies or effective vaccines for ZIKV and clinical cases are confirmed by the detection of virus RNA in clinical samples. In 2017 a team in Germany working with the Zika Virus Collaborative Study Group developed the first WHO International Standard for harmonised nucleic acid testing (NAT) for ZIKV and included NCPV strain 1308258v (MP 1751) in one of their candidate preparations3.

Public Health England researchers also contributed to the body of knowledge around ZIKV in 2017 by using a small animal model to elucidate specific virulence differences between the African and Asian lineages of ZIKV strains4. Two NCPV strains were used in the study:  1308258v isolated from Aedes africanus mosquitoes captured in the Zika Forest, Uganda in 1962 and 1604131v  (PRVABC59) isolated in Puerto Rico in 2016 and provided by NCPV by the US Centres for Disease Control.



  1. Staring J, von Castelmur E, Blomen VA, van den Hengel LG, Brockmann M, Baggen J, et al. PLA2G16 represents a switch between entry and clearance of Picornaviridae. Nature. 2017;541(7637):412-6.
  2. Sousa FH, Casanova V, Findlay F, Stevens C, Svoboda P, Pohl J, et al. Cathelicidins display conserved direct antiviral activity towards rhinovirus. Peptides. 2017;95:76-83.
  3. Baylis SA, Hanschmann KO, Schnierle BS, Trosemeier JH, Blumel J. Harmonization of nucleic acid testing for Zika virus: development of the 1(st) World Health Organization International Standard. Transfusion. 2017;57(3pt2):748-61.
  4. Dowall SD, Graham VA, Rayner E, Hunter L, Atkinson B, Pearson G, et al. Lineage-dependent differences in the disease progression of Zika virus infection in type-I interferon receptor knockout (A129) mice. PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 2017;11(7):e0005704.


January 2020