A Biomimetic Nanodecoy Traps Zika Virus To Prevent Viral Infection and Fetal Microcephaly Development

Zika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as a global health threat due to its unexpected causal link to devastating neurological disorders such as fetal microcephaly; however, to date, no approved vaccine or specific treatment is available for ZIKV infection. Here we develop a biomimetic nanodecoy (ND) that can trap ZIKV, divert ZIKV away from its intended targets, and inhibit ZIKV infection. The ND, which is composed of a gelatin nanoparticle core camouflaged by mosquito medium host cell membranes, effectively adsorbs ZIKV and inhibits ZIKV replication in ZIKV-susceptible cells. Using a mouse model, we demonstrate that NDs significantly attenuate the ZIKV-induced inflammatory responses and degenerative changes and thus improve the survival rate of ZIKV-challenged mice. Moreover, by trapping ZIKV, NDs successfully prevent ZIKV from passing through physiologic barriers into the fetal brain and thereby mitigate ZIKV-induced fetal microcephaly in pregnant mice. We anticipate that this study will provide new insights into the development of safe and effective protection against ZIKV and various other viruses that threaten public health.