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Study confirms that Zika virus can cross placental barrier

19th February 2016

A new study has provided evidence that the Zika virus is able to cross the placental barrier, offering new insights into the current outbreak.

Traces of the Zika virus have been detected in the amniotic fluid of two pregnant women whose foetuses had been diagnosed with microcephaly, indicating that the virus can cross the placental barrier and potentially infect the unborn child.

This adds extra credence to the current fear that the virus, which is currently spreading in numerous countries at an unusually rapid pace, may be linked with microcephaly, a condition characterised by babies being born with abnormally small heads and stunted brain development.

However, the research is not enough to prove that the virus causes microcephaly, necessitating further case-control studies to gain a better understanding of this link.

Study leader Dr Ana de Filippis from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said: "Until we understand the biological mechanism linking Zika virus to microcephaly we cannot be certain that one causes the other, and further research is urgently needed."

The current spread of the Zika virus has been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801813034-ADNFCR

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