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The project ZIKA virus diagnostic and detection system, ZIKAD, aims to generate competent cell lines and vectors for the expression of proviral and Zika viral proteins.

The Zika virus, transmitted by mosquito bites, causes an illness characterised by joint pain and fever, although in many cases it is asymptomatic. It can cause serious problems in a foetus if the woman becomes ill during pregnancy.This includes microcephaly and other malformations while in adults and children it can be complicated by myelitis or neuropathies.

The WHO has declared the recent Zika outbreak a Global Public Health Emergency. The Canary Islands, located in Macaronesia and a major tourist centre, is close to the ZIKV hotspot. Current diagnostic tests for ZIKV have low specificity and cannot clearly differentiate this pathogen from other viruses of the Flavivirus family.

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millons euros for Phase 1

On 20 February 2020, the Governing Council of the Community of Madrid approved the signing of a pioneering cooperation agreement on health innovation between the Community of Madrid and the Canary Islands to jointly manage the contracting of a public procurement project for the Zika Virus Diagnostic and Detection System (ZIKAD).

The ZIKAD Project is part of the 2nd call for proposals of the FID Health Programme of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. The Community of Madrid will participate with €1.12 million, of which 50% will come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through a grant awarded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation,which is part of Spain’s Pluri-Regional Operational Programme (POPE) 2014-2020.

This project will run from 31 July 2019 through 30 June 2023.

General objectives

The project ZIKA Virus Diagnostic and Detection System, ZIKAD, aims to generate competent cell lines and Zika viral protein and proviral expression vectors.

Specific objectives

Development of a multiplex ELISA system using new antibodies directed to different specific epitopes of ZIKV to unequivocally differentiate the presence of this pathogen from other related arboviruses such as Dengue, Chikungunya and West Nile.

Molecular diagnosis of Zika virus (ZIKV) using specific nanoprobes at the level of ZIKV RNA and common probes for other viruses with similar onset symptoms, allowing rapid and highly sensitive detection of the viral genome. This type of diagnosis must be rapid, sensitive, specific, low-cost and allow detection of the virus from blood, urine, semen, and cerebrospinal fluid samples.

Development of recombinant viral proteins with genomic fragments for antibody production and subsequent development of ELISA diagnostic tests.

Determination of pathological mechanisms associated with viral infection and identification of potential antiviral drugs.

Expected results

  1. Development of viral recombinant proteins with genomic fragments for ELISA
  2. Creation of cell lines with ZIKV genes: standardised model for multiplex. Nanoprobe detection.
  • In the event of a ZIKV outbreak, early detection will reduce routes of transmission and improve the prognosis of the disease.
  • Early diagnosis in pregnant women preventing future foetal malformations.
  • Reduction of the health alert and therefore of the impact on the tourism sector.
  • Reduction of healthcare costs.


The bidding process for the execution of the project will be announced soon.