What’s Happening With Zika?

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    Zika took the world by a storm. It is disheartening that there is still no vaccine or treatment for Zika. Researchers around the world have been working nonstop on an immunization and around three groups have begun testing their vaccines on humans or have been given approval to do so. However, there have been some reports that doctors are making progress and have found an antibody that could be used to protect pregnant women and their fetuses from contracting Zika.

    There was a team created specifically to study this issue from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. They looked at 29 antibodies from people who recovered from a Zika infection and were able to find one that neutralized five strains of Zika in the lab. They then gave that antibody to pregnant mice in two time segments.

    They were given the antibody either one day before or one or five days after the mice were infected with Zika. The results from this experiment were that the mice given the antibody had evidently reduced levels of the virus in their systems as well as in their fetuses and placentas compared to mice that didn’t receive the antibody. The untreated mice infected with Zika had placental damage

    This was the first time an antiviral was shown to protect maturing fetuses from Zika. “This is proof of principle that Zika virus during pregnancy is treatable, and we already have a human antibody that treats it, at least in mice,” co-senior author Michael Diamond, M.D., Ph.D., of Washington University said in a release.

    However, this antibody must be tested in humans in the near future, but if it works, it could be used as a treatment. It would be an expensive treatment but it would protect pregnant women exposed or diagnosed with Zika. The researchers also found that a vaccine capable of producing protective antibodies might also protect developing fetuses in current or future pregnancies.

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