From U.S. News
January 5, 2018
FRIDAY, Jan. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Zika might not directly cause the miscarriages and birth defects that have been associated with the notorious virus, a new study in mice suggests.
Instead, the ravaging effects of Zika infection on a developing fetus appear to stem from the immune response of the expecting mother, researchers said.
Lab mice bred without a key step in their immune response wound up birthing pups that survived Zika infection, while normal mice either lost their pregnancy or produced very underweight pups, the study found.
“The antiviral response generated in response to Zika infection is causing the miscarriage of the fetus, as opposed to the virus itself,” according to senior researcher Akiko Iwasaki. She is a professor of immunobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. She is also an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in Chevy Chase, Md.