Confirmed! Zika causes fetal brain damage in unborn babies

The research has further found that small amounts of genetic material from the Zika virus can be detected from a blood sample taken from a pregnant woman even weeks after the acute rash caused by the infection has passed, when the development of brain damage in the fetus is underway.

Updated: Mar 31, 2016, 13:36 PM IST
Image for representational purpose only

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A recent study has further helped in untying the mystery behind the zika virus. As per a research conducted by Olli Vapalahti from University of Helsinki, Finland, zika virus can cause fetal brain damage in unborn babies.

Till now, it had been just linked to the same but with this recent outbreak, it stands confirmed.

The research has further found that small amounts of genetic material from the Zika virus can be detected from a blood sample taken from a pregnant woman even weeks after the acute rash caused by the infection has passed, when the development of brain damage in the fetus is underway.

 

Severe brain abnormalities can be detected through neuroimaging already at this early stage, even before the development of the intracranial calcifications and microcephaly previously associated with Zika virus infections.

The virus was isolated from fetal brain tissue in a cell line representing neural cell precursors. Researchers mapped the entire genome of the virus and discovered eight mutations, which distinguish this virus from the Zika strains previously reported in Central America. Vapalahti noted that some of these mutations may be associated with the adaptations of the virus to the fetal brain.

(With ANI inputs)