MEDICAL: DISEASES: ZIKA VIRUS :
Human Antibody Protects Fetus from Zika
Human Antibody Protects Fetus from Zika
BY ADVANCE STAFF
NOVEMBER 14, 2016
A shorter URL for the above link:
The most devastating consequence of Zika virus infection is the development of microcephaly, or an abnormally small head, in babies who were infected in utero. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine have identified a human antibody that prevents, in pregnant mice, the fetus from becoming infected with Zika and damage of the placenta, according to a press release. The antibody also protects adult mice from Zika disease.
This is the first antiviral that has been shown to work in pregnancy to protect developing fetuses from Zika virus, said Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine and the studys co-senior author. 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.
The study is published Nov. 7 in Nature, as a fast-track advance online publication.
Diamond, co-senior author James Crowe Jr., MD, of Vanderbilt, and colleagues screened 29 anti-Zika antibodies from people who had recovered from Zika infection. They found one, called ZIKV-117, that efficiently neutralized in the lab five Zika strains representing the worldwide diversity of the virus.
To test whether the antibody also protects living animals, the researchers gave the antibody to pregnant mice either one day before or one day after they were infected with the virus. In both cases, antibody treatment markedly reduced the levels of virus in pregnant females and their fetuses, as well as in the placentas, compared with pregnant mice that did not get the antibody.
These naturally occurring antibodies isolated from humans represent the first medical intervention that prevents Zika infection and damage to fetuses, Crowe said.
The placentas from the treated females appeared normal and healthy, unlike those from the untreated females, which showed destruction of the placental structure. Damage to the placenta can cause slow fetal growth and even can cause fetal death, both of which are associated with Zika infection in humans.
We 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, said co-author Indira Mysorekar, PhD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and of pathology and immunology at Washington University, and co-director of the Universitys Center for Reproductive Sciences. The anti-Zika antibodies are able to keep the fetus safe from harm by blocking the virus from crossing the placenta.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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