Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.
March 4 — Scientists have found that the Zika virus targets cells that grow into the brain, they said in a paper published March 4 as the evidence mounts of a link between the Zika virus and a serious birth defect.
A team of researchers from Johns Hopkins and Florida State universities found the Zika virus specifically attacks the stem cells that grow into the outer layer of the brain. They stopped short of concluding that their findings prove any causal link between Zika and microcephaly. But they said their study pinpoints where the virus may be doing the most damage.
“This is a first step, and there's a lot more that needs to be done,” said Hongjun Song, co-author of the study and a neuroscientist and stem cell biologist at Hopkins. “What we show is that the Zika virus infects neuronal cells in dish that are counterparts to those that form the cortex during human brain development.” The authors added that their findings, which are based on stem cells, don't demonstrate what is happening in the developing fetus. Direct evidence for a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly is more likely to come from clinical studies, they said.
Guo-li Ming, a Hopkins neuroscientist interested in brain disorders like microcephaly, said there are case reports for the Zika virus showing that certain brain areas appear to have developed normally, but it is mostly the cortical structures that are missing.
“So a very important question that emerges from our work is whether the Zika virus specifically targets the neural progenitor mostly responsible for generating the cortex,” Ming said.
Their paper, “Zika Virus Infects Human Cortical Neural Progenitors and Attenuates Their Growth,” appeared online March 4 in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is in the same class as Dengue. The outbreak has spread to more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, with more than 150 cases of U.S. residents contracting the virus while traveling to an infected country. There have been no locally acquired cases of the virus in the contiguous U.S., but there have been more than 100 local cases in Puerto Rico. There is no vaccine, and President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $1.9 billion in funds to fight the virus .
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeannie Baumann in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lee Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)