Thus, scientists have determined that it is necessary to develop specific treatments to prevent the transmission of the mother to the fetus and treat infected fetuses.
US research can prevent zika contagion in mothers, but not in fetuses
A treatment consisting of injecting antibodies from women infected with the zika virus into pregnant primates was able to prevent the mother from infecting her but not from the fetus, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said on Tuesday.
“Preventing the mother’s infection may be easier than finding a treatment for the fetus,” said David Watkins, one of the study’s leads investigators.
On the other hand, the scientist said the research shows that examinations of the zika virus in mothers do not always show “whether the fetus is infected or not.”
Researcher Diogo Magnani detailed that he injected into three pregnant rhesus monkeys a cocktail of antibodies from a patient who contracted zika in Brazil and after that, there was a high rate of complications in fetal development.
Zika, a viral disease that is mainly contracted by mosquito bites, but can also be transmitted sexually, has ignited a worldwide warning due to its spread in 36 countries, mainly in Latin America, in 2016.
Magnani, who recently published a study on the subject in the journal Nature, detailing that the virus isolated from pregnant women in Rio de Janeiro caused fetal infection in pregnant monkeys.
The antibody cocktail was “effective at eliminating the virus from the mothers’ blood, but it was not enough to eliminate the zika virus from the amniotic fluid,” Magnani said.
“It is possible that antibodies do not cross the placenta at concentrations sufficient to block the virus,” he added.
The infection resulted in the passage of the virus into the amniotic fluid, which caused the death of the fetus.
On the other hand, the researchers found that there were no virus mutations or other factors involved in these results.
Thus, scientists have determined that it is necessary to develop specific treatments to prevent transmission from the mother to the fetus and treat infected fetuses.
The research was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation (JJCF), and the Clarence Wolf Jr. Foundation and Alma B. Wolf.
Women, especially pregnant women and women of reproductive age, remain the main focus of attention for authorities because of the link between zika virus and congenital defects in infants such as microcephaly.
The number of cases of babies with birth defects related to zika increased by 21% in the second half of 2016 in areas where there was the local transmission of the virus in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in English).