Antibody Protects Fetus From Zika Virus

Posted: Nov 8 2016, 5:48am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Antibody Protects Fetus From Zika Virus
A researcher holds a tray of Zika virus growing in animal cells at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. There is no treatment available to block Zika virus in a pregnant woman from infecting her fetus and potentially causing severe birth defects. But researchers have identified a human antibody that prevents, in pregnant mice, the fetus from becoming infected and the placenta from being damaged. The antibody also protects adult mice from Zika disease. Credit: Huy Mach
  • Study shows that a Specific Antibody prevents Zika Virus from Infecting Infants in the Womb

A recent study showed that a specific antibody prevents the Zika Virus from infecting infants in the womb.

The worst symptoms of the Zika Virus is microcephaly which causes the infants which are born to have very small heads. However, now scientists have found a human antibody that prevents the virus from infecting the infants in the womb.

Up until now, this experiment has only been performed in mice. This antibody also prevents the Zika Virus from infecting adult rodents.

This is the first instance of an antiviral agent that is effective. It is yet to be seen if it will work in human beings as well as rodents. The fact that the Zika Virus is preventable while the female is pregnant and her baby can also be saved from the disease is a miracle.

Up until now though this is only possible in mice. Over 29 anti-Zika antibodies were tested from patients who had recovered from the onslaughts of the virus. One of these was the ZIKV-117. It vanquished five Zika strains in the lab.

The experts tested the antibody on pregnant mice in the lab. The nostrum was administered to these rodents either one day before or after they were infected with the Zika Virus.

The treatment had a remarkable effect on the alleviation of Zika Virus symptoms in both the pregnant mice and their infants. Even the placentas of the treated mice were normal as opposed to the placentas of the untreated mice.

The antibodies basically prevent the virus from crossing the membranes of the placenta and thereby infecting the infants. Damaged placentas lead to the infants being abnormal in their development. It may even cause the sudden death of the fetus in the womb.

No harm was done to the fetal arteries and veins and no thinning of the placenta occurred. The antibodies ensured that the female mice gave birth to normal litters.

A highly dangerous strain of Zika was used in the experiments. Yet the antibodies managed to overcome it despite the hopes of the researchers not being so high regarding the outcome.

The making of a vaccine that will be beneficial for humans is underway. Dengue is another disease which is a kissing cousin of the Zika Virus. Such diseases have sprung up out of nowhere in recent times showing that diseases never end but transform into novel ones over time.

This study is published on November 7 in the journal Nature.

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