Cura Zika

Cura Zika mark



The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is proud to launch Cura Zika, an international alliance to perform much-needed research addressing the Zika epidemic by uniting  Pitt biomedical scientists and their Brazilian collaborators.

Zika is a mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted virus which causes microcephaly in infants born to mothers infected with it. It is also associated with increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome and other neurological disorders in people who contract it. The virus is widespread in Southern and Central America and has a likelihood of gaining sustained transmission in the Southern U.S.

Cura Zika builds on Pitt Public Health’s long-standing collaboration with FIOCRUZ , the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s Fundação Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the most prominent science and technology health institution in Latin America. Cura Zika—which means ‘Cure Zika’ in both Portuguese and Spanish—will provide quick access funding to scientists performing time-sensitive research on the virus. This support is designed to move early-stage innovative research ideas into larger studies in an accelerated manner.

An initial startup grant of $200,000 is being equally matched by funds from the Graduate School of Public Health and from the University of Pittsburgh schools of the health sciences. Already, an additional $800,000 in pledges has been received towards the alliance's efforts to fund research to stop the disease.

Cura Zika Symposium

If you missed the live event, you may still view the Cura Zika symposium video to get a look at some of the related research already underway at the University of Pittsburgh.

Cura Zika Pilot project presentations

Find out more about the research currently under way at this Pitt Public Health event: Cura Zika Pilot Research Grant Presentations.

Zika News

Marques: While Zika hasn’t been in the news much, that doesn’t mean it’s gone

WASHINGTON POST - Local transmission seems to have come to a standstill, with one suspected case in Texas and one case confirmed in Florida. Herd immunity may be preventing more big outbreaks. But if Zika behaves like other arboviruses, it will probably stick around. They tend to be cyclical, says Pitt Public Health researcher ERNESTO MARQUES. “You have big booms, then they drop. Then a few years later, they come back again.” 

Enigma: Marques worked to pinpoint culprit of mysterious illness in Brazil

PITTWIRE - When a mysterious illness suddenly emerged in his Brazilian hometown, IDM researcher ERNESTO MARQUES mobilized with colleagues to decode its unknowns. The work may help infectious-disease researchers stop or stall new epidemics. His story begins on page 18. 

Marques: Zika virus still offers no clear answers

THE GLOBE AND MAIL - It has been two years since Brazil’s northeast was hit with the public-health crisis that left babies born with CZS and set off alarm bells in the global health community. Yet experts continue to grapple with big questions. “We can’t really tell if what happened here was replicated or not in other areas of Brazil or Latin America because we don’t really know how many women were exposed,” said IDM’s ERNESTO MARQUES, who is con... 

Marques offers insignt as Zika season approaches

TRIB LIVE - In the U.S., there have been 5,264 Zika cases reported, with the vast majority in travelers returning from affected areas in other countries, says ERNESTO MARQUES, associate professor with Pitt Public Health and scientific director of CURA ZIKA, an international alliance with counterparts in Brazil to help fundraising for research into the virus. Learn more about Cura Zika at 

Marques looks for clues to Zika damage in twins

NEW YORK TIMES - Determining why one twin becomes infected in the womb while the other does not may illuminate how Zika crosses the placenta, how it enters the brain, and whether any genetic mutations make a fetus more resistant or susceptible to Zika infection. Perhaps the virus entered through a weak spot in one placenta’s membrane, said ERNESTO MARQUES, an infectious disease expert at Pitt Public Health and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Recif... 

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Help address the Zika epidemic by providing critical, quick-access funding to scientists with innovative, early-stage research ideas.

Click to donate online, or contact David Tye at 412-624-3608 or

Zika News


Zika and travel: Marques tells you what you need to know 

Zika and travel: Marques tells you what you need to know

THE NEW YORK TIMES - The virus has been out of the headlines, but that doesn't mean it is gone. The World Health Organization just updated guideines for travelling to the Zika zone. "Summer in the north is winter in the south and vice versa, so you have to consider that," said IDM's Ernesto Marques... (07/10/2019)

The Zika virus is still a threat. Here's what Marques, other experts know 

The Zika virus is still a threat. Here's what Marques, other experts know

THE NEW YORK TIMES - Remember Zika? With measles and Ebola grabbing headlines, it is easy to forget the health panic of 2016, when Zika was linked to severe birth defects in thousands of Brazilian newborns whose mothers were infected while pregnant, striking fear across the country and much of the ... (07/03/2019)

Marques finds that previous exposure to Dengue Fever protects against Zika 

Marques finds that previous exposure to Dengue Fever protects against Zika

90.5 WESA - Pitt researchers have found that previous exposure to Dengue Fever lowers the risk of infection from the Zika virus. “If we use currently approved Dengue vaccines or vaccines that are already close to become approved, you could boost Dengue responses... and could provide some degree of ... (03/07/2019)

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Send questions about the Cura Zika initiative, an international alliance to perform much-needed research addressing the Zika epidemic, to

Cura Zika mark

Media Contact

Allison Hydzik,
manager of media relations 

Cura Zika Advisory Board

Program director
Donald Burke

Scientific director
Ernesto T. A. Marques

Scientific advisors 
Fernando Bozza   
Lee Harrison 
Cecilia Lo 
Celina Martelli 
Yoel Sadovsky