A new discovery by Chinese researchers confirmed a link between the Zika virus and a neurological disorder affecting newborns.
The scientists made a concrete connection between Zika and microcephaly using brains grown in a lab. CCTV America’s Sean Callebs reports.
Researchers Hong Jun Song and Guo Li Ming at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland have, for the first time, confirmed that the neurological disorder’s horrific effects definitively come from the Zika virus, passed on chiefly by mosquito bites. The long term issues are devastating.
“Unlike other disease or other disorders, you cannot reverse it. Once the people have microcephaly, and that is not simply a small head, there are a lot of other defects associated with them and they carry through with them their life,” Hong Jun Song said.
For years, they have been working to determine how the human brain develops. In the lab, they are able start with a single cell and grew it into what they call a “micro-brain.” Ming and Song have been introducing the Zika virus to the micro-brains at various stages of development.
“We can actually model the Zika infection at different time points. For example, we have tested at different time points. We tested Zika infection at early first trimester, similar to first trimester brain development,” Guo Li Ming said.
“What we found is striking. You need only exposure of 24 hours of Zika virus to this model and you have a very dramatic effect and the reason for that, the virus is so smart they make the neuro-stem cell as their factory,” Hong Jun Song said.
It took just four months to tie the virus to microcephaly and now the race is on to find an effective treatment.