Some monkeys can contract Zika virus within the womb and present indicators of mind injury just like these seen in human infants, based on a brand new examine.
The findings mark the primary time monkey has proven indicators of “congenital Zika syndrome” — the vary of well being issues linked with Zika virus an infection within the womb. The outcomes recommend that researchers might be able to develop a mannequin of Zika virus an infection in monkeys that would assist with the event of vaccines or different approaches that might assist forestall beginning defects attributable to Zika, the researchers mentioned.
Researchers have been making an attempt to develop a mannequin of congenital Zika syndrome in nonhuman primates (resembling monkeys) as a result of being pregnant in nonhuman primates extra intently resembles human being pregnant, in comparison with being pregnant in different animals resembling rodents. Nevertheless, in a earlier examine of pregnant monkeys contaminated with Zika, the virus didn’t seem to make its approach into the fetus’s mind tissue, because it does in people.
Within the new examine, the researchers used a special species of monkey, known as a pigtail macaque, and used a barely larger dose of Zika virus for an infection.
The researchers contaminated a pigtail macaque with Zika when it was within the third trimester of being pregnant. Indicators of mind damage to the fetus occurred rapidly — inside 10 days of an infection, the researchers mentioned. The fetus developed mind lesions and confirmed indicators of slowed mind development in addition to damage to components of nerve cells known as axons. The researchers additionally discovered proof of the Zika virus genetic materials within the fetal mind tissue. [Zika Virus News: Complete Coverage of the 2016 Outbreak]
The findings present Zika virus an infection throughout being pregnant “has the capability to end in fetal mind damage in a pregnant pigtail macaque,” the researchers wrote within the Sept. 12 problem of the journal Nature Drugs. This animal mannequin “might have vital utility for testing novel vaccines and therapeutics to stop the congenital [Zika virus] syndrome,” the researchers mentioned.
Extra research are wanted to higher perceive how the virus causes damage to the mind, they mentioned.