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Scientists find clue to why Zika, but not its close relatives, causes birth defects

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  • Scientists find clue to why Zika, but not its close relatives, causes birth defects

    The most frightening aspect of Zika virus has been its ability to produce severe fetal birth defects during pregnancy, especially microcephaly—a small head.
    Now, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have uncovered the details behind the virus‘s unique ability to cross the placental barrier and expose the fetus to a range of birth defects that often go beyond microcephaly to include eye and joint injury, and even other types of brain damage.
    The new study, led by TSRI Associate Professor Hyeryun Choe, was published online ahead of print this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    How Zika virus crosses the placental barrier, while other closely related viruses in the flavivirus family including dengue and West Nile viruses do not, has puzzled researchers since the crisis began some two years ago in Brazil.
    Obstacles to reaching the fetal brain are substantial—a virus must move from the mother’s blood into fetal circulation, which is separated by placental barrier cells designed to prevent that very occurrence.


    https://all-about-zika-virus.com/sci...birth-defects/

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