Researchers found an antibody effective in neutralizing the effect of Zika virus on pregnant women and fetuses.

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner



There was widespread pandemonium and panic across the world with the news of the breakout of virus with attendant negative effect on the developing fetus known as Zika. Microcephaly is the major complication associated with Zika virus infected pregnant mother. Finding a solution to this condition is a major concern of scientists.

Zika is a virus mostly transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. The World Health Organization (WHO) in February this year had confirmed that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and as such, it has since been considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
At the moment, avoiding mosquito bites by pregnant women is the only effective measures to manage the condition as there is no vaccine against Zika.
However, according to a recent publication in the Journal of Nature, researchers from University of Washington and University of Vanderbilt University claimed to have found an antibody naturally produced by the body called ZIKV-177 that could protect the developing fetus from Zika virus, bring us closer to a Zika vaccine.

The team blood samples from adults who had been infected with Zika virus and isolated 29 anti-Zika antibodies from the blood samples and tested each one on different strains of Zika in a laboratory. During the process, the team discovered one antibody known as ZIKV-177 that effectively neutralized five Zika strains.
The researchers injected pregnant mice with the antibody a day before or a day after being infected with Zika virus. In both cases, the researchers discovered that ZIKV-177 decreased the levels of Zika virus in pregnant mice and their fetuses when compared with pregnant mice that were not exposed to the antibody.
According to Indira Mysorkar, the team “did not see any damage to the fetal blood vessels, thinning of the placenta or any growth restriction in the fetuses of the antibody-treated mice” and that “the anti-Zika antibodies are able to keep the fetus safe from harm by blocking the virus from crossing the placenta”.
Furthermore, when the researchers administered ZIKV-177 to male mice infected with a lethal strain of Zika, it was discovered that found there was a decrease levels of the virus even when administered 5 days after initial infection.
The researchers note that their findings suggest that antibodies alone can provide effective protection against Zika among adults and fetuses and that any vaccine that contains ZIKV-177 has the ability to prevent Zika infection in pregnant mothers and their fetuses.

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Washington University School of Medicine

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