Science

Zika Virus Proteins Causing Birth And Neurological Defects Identified

By Donna Marie Lapena Padua , Jan 04, 2017 10:20 AM EST

A group of researchers has recently identified seven proteins linked to Zika Virus. According to their study, these proteins were found to be the key components that cause birth and neurological defects among humans. Such discovery is expected by scientists to be a guide to the formulation of medication for Zika.

Recently, researchers from the University of Maryland's School of Medicine noted down an important discovery. They happened to touch as they were studying the Zika virus itself. Reports revealed that there are seven unknown proteins causing Zika to be a lethal disease. Details of the research were then published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

According to Zee News, the team used yeast cells to find out how Zika virus affects them. Lead researcher Richard Zhao specifically used fission yeasts as they are popular scientific models used in observing cellular activities. Following this, the team reportedly exposed the fission yeasts to the proteins of Zika virus. The researchers then saw which of the proteins causes cellular harm as 7 out of the 14 Zika proteins studied killed the fusion yeast cells. The rest reportedly inhibited cell growth.

The Zika virus has become one of the most serious diseases transmitted by mosquito species and through sexual activities. However, the nature of Zika has been mysterious and scientists are still studying how the virus affects the human body notes Science Focus. The side effects of the virus though have been observed, being fevers, joint pains, and muscle soreness. These mild symptoms go away quickly, but for pregnant women, the virus proves to be lethal.

Zika virus has caused multiple serious birth defects as fetuses are still in development. The effects include seizures, microcephaly and cognitive problems. As is the case, doctors recommend delaying pregnancy. Zika has been studied thoroughly by numerous scientists already and experts have already formulated a working vaccine, but is still in its early clinical trials.

Nothing much is still known about the virus and how it can cause too much damage on human body. The researching team reportedly will conduct further studies on Zika virus, this time to discover the effects of the proteins on human cells.

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