Links found between Zika Virus and Microcephaly
PARIS: Scientists have found first evidence of biological link between Zika Virus sweeping Latin America and Microcephaly, a severe deformation of the brain among newborns.
Laboratory tests found that the virus target key cells involved in brain development and then destroy or disable them, said the scientists.
A professor of neurology at The Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and a co-leader of the research, Guo-li Ming said, “The findings are the first concrete evidence of a link between the mosquito-borne virus and Microcephaly, which until now had been circumstantial.
“Studies of foetuses and babies with the telltale small brains and heads of Microcephaly in Zika-affected areas have found abnormalities in the cortex, and Zika virus has been found in the foetal tissue,” he added.
Scientist exposed three types of human cells in a lab dish to the Zika virus through a method called in-vitro experiment.
The first cell is known as Human Neural Progenitor Cells (HNPCs) – is crucial for the development of the cortex, or outer layer, of foetal brain.
Damage to these cells, which eventually differentiate into mature neurons, would be consistent with the brain defects caused by Microcephaly.