Zika Virus: Causal Link established between virus and birth defects

Posted on May 12, 2016 • Filed under: Brazil, Latin America Health

LATIMES.com reported Until now, most Zika research has chronicled damage to newborns who were inadvertently, and haphazardly, exposed to the virus. Now scientists have taken a different tack: They have deliberately infected developing mice pups and tiny clusters of lab-grown brain cells so they could observe and measure the damage that ensued.

The results of these experiments nail down the causal link between Zika and the rash of birth defects seen over the past year in Brazil. And they begin to show how a virus thought to be little more than a pest crosses the placental barrier and makes a beeline for a fetus’ brain.

In doing so, they give scientists some insight into why a mother’s infection with Zika early in pregnancy appears to result in far more extensive damage than when her infection occurs at a later stage. Read Article

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