Texas Zika Researchers Studying Infected Primates To Help Prevent Birth Defects

From Texas Public Radio
December 11, 2017

Scientists at Texas BioMedical Research Institute in San Antonio are using a type of primate to help prevent birth defects caused by the Zika virus.

Texas BioMed is using four marmosets as its animal model for Zika infection. Virologist Dr. Jean Patterson said Zika infection in marmosets is similar to that in humans.

“Like humans, they develop almost immediate Viremia — meaning they have virus in their blood — and, for the males, after the virus declines in blood it then goes into semen, saliva and blood,” she said.

Zika is primarily passed through mosquito bites but can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse in humans, as well as marmosets.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Zika during pregnancy as a cause of microcephaly, in which a baby is born with a head much smaller than normal.

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