View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
November 6, 2018

US researchers find possible biomarkers for Zika-related birth defects

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) in the US have discovered potential Zika biomarkers related to severe birth defects in babies who are born to women infected with the virus.

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) in the US have discovered potential Zika biomarkers related to severe birth defects in babies who are born to women infected with the virus.

The majority of infected patients do not show symptoms or have mild illness with low-grade fever. However, foetuses exposed to the virus are at risk of neurological defects, including microcephaly.

The team expects the latest finding to help in developing screening tests for the virus, and offer better insights into the mechanism behind the infection leading to foetal abnormalities.

USC Keck School of Medicine Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology research associate Suan-Sin Foo said: “The highest risk of birth defects is from Zika virus infection during the first and second trimester. A prenatal test has the potential to relieve the concerns of many expectant mothers.”

“The team expects the latest finding to help in developing screening tests for the virus, and offer better insights into the mechanism behind the infection leading to foetal abnormalities.”

The researchers compared blood samples from 30 Zika-infected pregnant women in Brazil to those from 30 healthy pregnant women in Brazil and 14 in Los Angeles, US.

Through these blood samples, the team assessed their immune systems, particularly the cytokines generated by the body in response to an infection.

Amongst a panel of 69 cytokines screened, 16 appeared to be associated with Zika-induced abnormal births. However, further research is necessary to determine if the messenger chemicals cause birth defects or are secreted in response to other factors.

Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology research associate Weiqiang Chen noted that the findings offer a Zika biomarkers panel that may potentially enable the future prediction of associated foetal outcomes via testing of the mother’s blood.

The research findings have been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.

Related Companies

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. The top stories of the day delivered to you every weekday. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The medical device industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU

Thank you for subscribing to Medical Device Network