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American Researchers Discover a Zika Antibody

By on July 28, 2016

A team of American researchers has identified a specific group of antibodies that protect humans against the infection of the Zika virus, according to an article published Wednesday on the medical journal Cell Press.

FILE - In this May 23, 2016, file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito sits inside a glass tube at the Fiocruz institute where they have been screening for mosquitos naturally infected with the Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Puerto Rico fear over Zika is stunting the growth of tourism, the only industry that was starting to flourish as the island teeters on financial collapse amid a decade-long economic crisis.(AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Aedes aegypti mosquito (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

The research made by the by the University of Washington’s Medical School in St. Louis, Missouri, is a significant step in the diagnosis and treatment of the zika infection, according to the publication.

The finding would help in the process of anticipating and improving the diagnosis of the disease, develop effective treatments and possibly come up with a preventive and/or curative vaccine.

Researchers explained that the Zika virus’ antibodies created by the human body become ineffective in fighting the infection once the Zika virus is crossed with other diseases such as dengue and/or West Nile viruses. This is the reason why more expensive tests have had to be developed to confirm a Zika infection.

The team of researchers identified the presence of antibodies in tests with lab mice that had been exposed to the Zika virus. The scientists identified six groups of antibodies, four of which proved to be effective in preventing the infection and the development of a treatment for other mice. The researchers are confident that, despite all the research having been done with lab mice, they will be able to easily “humanize” the treatment.

The next step in the research process is the identification of which stage or stages of a pregnancy would the antibodies be more effective for treatment in pregnant women. The Zika virus has been associated with a series of congenital malformations such as microcephaly, where children’s heads have a smaller circumference than average, which in turn could lead to other health conditions. Other conditions, such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome, have also been identified as potential complication from the Zika virus.

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