Scientists discovered that Zika is able to mutate within the placenta explaining why the virus is able to reach the fetus.
New research illuminates how the Zika virus passes through the placenta. Analysts from Emory University found that Zika breaks down the placenta’s function of protecting the fetus and instead turns the organ into a breeding ground. Investigators discovered that the virus mushrooms in immune cells without killing them explaining how it’s able to penetrate the placenta leading to birth deformities.
Study co-author and pediatrics professor Dr. Mehul Suthar, said, “Our results substantiate the limited evidence from pathology case reports,” shedding light on a previously unexplained phenomenon Tech Times reports.
Contemporary viruses, namely dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile aren’t typically able to pass through the placenta, believed to be the organ’s protective defense mechanism. Zika, however, has an insidious ability to infect the cells, proliferate, and transmit the virus to the fetus.
Analysts studied cells donated by healthy volunteers who experienced full-term Cesarean births. Scientists were stunned by the results: Zika did not kill Hofbauer cells, the protective type of cells that are generated by developing fetuses; rather, Zika continued to germinate.