Zika virus: researchers discover effective Zita antibodies

Zika virus: researchers discover effective Zita antibodies

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Researchers discover effective antibodies: hope for Zika vaccine
To date, there is no vaccine against the dangerous Zika virus, which is suspected of causing skull malformations in newborns. But that could change soon. Researchers have now discovered effective antibodies against the pathogen.

Millions of people infected with Zika
Although researchers recently warned of a possible Zika virus epidemic around the Mediterranean, the pathogen is particularly common in countries in South and Central America. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the pathogen is active in 60 countries and territories, most of which are located on the American double continent. In Brazil alone, around one and a half million people are infected with the pathogen, which among other things is blamed for thousands of cases of microcephaly in babies. The children are born with an unusually small head, which can lead to brain malformations. So far it has not been clearly proven that the virus is the trigger for this. According to the latest findings, the pathogen can also be a threat to adults, as researchers reported in the "New England Journal of Medicine". Meanwhile, there are first hopes for a vaccine against the dangerous Zika virus.

Researchers discover effective antibodies
European researchers say they have found effective antibodies in the search for a Zika virus vaccine. As the scientists report in the journal "Nature", the antibodies in human cell cultures "neutralized" the virus as well as the related dengue virus. This could lead to the “development of a universal vaccine” against both viruses, but there is still a long way to go. According to the information, the antibodies come from people whose immune systems had developed such proteins after a dengue infection. According to a report by the AFP news agency, study co-author Felix Rey from the French Pasteur Institute said: "We would never have thought that the dengue virus and the Zika virus are so similar that the antibodies against the dengue virus also the Zika - neutralize the virus so effectively ”.

Researchers warn of exaggerated hopes
According to researcher Juthathip Mongkolsapaya from Imperial College London, “very powerful antibodies” to Zika have been discovered for the first time. However, Rey warned against exaggerated hopes for the rapid development of a vaccine: “There is still a lot to be done, including clinical trials. That could take some time. ”The scientists also made a disturbing discovery: While the human body develops two types of antibodies against Zika after a dengue infection, most of the other proteins formed seem to promote an increase in the Zika virus. Researcher Gavin Screaton from Imperial College London said that a previous dengue disease may also increase the risk of Zika infection. "This could explain why the current (Zika) outbreak is so violent and why it has hit regions where dengue exists." The findings of the study were published in the journal "Nature Immunology". Rey, who was involved in both articles, said: "Both studies complement each other." He said: "They show that it is very important that the future vaccine uses the right antibodies and targets the Achilles heel of the virus." (Ad)

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Video: Test of 25 shows COVID 19 neutralizing antibody, Shows some immunity to the virus. YTN NEWS (May 2022).