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'Groundbreaking Strides' Made in Zika Vaccine Research

Posted 12 days ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 10, 2017 – Development of a Zika vaccine is proceeding rapidly, but it still will be years before such a vaccine is available to the public, says the author of a new report on research efforts. Three leading vaccine candidates are being tested in humans. Two are based on cutting-edge DNA vaccine technology and the third is based on the more standard inactivated virus model, said Dr. Stephen Thomas. He's a professor of infectious disease with the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. "The pace of R&D for a Zika vaccine is incredibly brisk," Thomas said. "Truly, some groundbreaking strides have been made in very short periods of time." But Thomas believes it will be at least two to four years before a vaccine has received federal approval and enters mass production. Human testing currently is aimed at making sure that the vaccine is safe, ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Vaccination and Prophlaxis

Zika Risk May Be Lower Than Thought for Some Pregnant Women

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 9, 2017 – U.S. women traveling to areas where the Zika virus is circulating might be less likely to be infected than expected, but risk remains, a new study suggests. Only one out of 185 pregnant women at a Los Angeles clinic who visited an active Zika area between January and August 2016 wound up infected, researchers report. "Overall, for women who have had exposures to Zika virus, the risk of maternal infection is low," said lead researcher Dr. Rashmi Rao, an obstetrician and gynecologist with the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. But, the risk of Zika infection "isn't zero, and I want to make that very clear," Rao continued. "Our party line for women remains that we don't recommend they travel to these areas at all, particularly if they are considering pregnancy or are pregnant." The one woman who contracted Zika developed her infection during a ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Delivery, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Zika Can Harm Babies' Vision, Too

Posted 18 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 18, 2017 – Although Zika virus is most well-known for the devastating neurological damage it can cause in the womb, a new study reports that some babies infected with Zika also may have lifelong vision impairment. Forty-three babies born in Colombia and Venezuela suffered damage to both eyes after being exposed to Zika through their pregnant mothers, researchers said. Their mothers showed no signs of eye problems. The damage mainly involved scar tissue on their retinas and optic nerves. But, five babies also appeared to have congenital glaucoma, said Dr. Fernando Arevalo, chair of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. Congenital glaucoma is a condition that causes increased pressure in the eye, likely because the eye's drainage system didn't develop properly. It can cause damage to the optic nerve, according to the Glaucoma Research ... Read more

Related support groups: Glaucoma, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Epilepsy: Another Potential Zika Threat to Babies

Posted 17 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 17, 2017 – Beyond its known links to birth defects and other problems, the Zika virus may also trigger cases of epilepsy in infants, warn experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among 48 babies from Brazil with probable congenital Zika infection, "50 percent reportedly had clinical seizures," said Dr. Daniel Pastula, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Rosemarie Kobau. All three have studied Zika at the CDC, and co-wrote an essay on the Zika-epilepsy connection, published online April 17 in JAMA Neurology. The Zika virus is transmitted via mosquito bites, and its most devastating effects occur when pregnant women are infected. In those cases, Zika can trigger severe neurological birth defects such as microcephaly, where infants are born with underdeveloped skulls and brains. Thousands of such cases have occurred in South America, most notably in ... Read more

Related support groups: Seizures, Epilepsy, Seizure Prevention, Seizure Prophylaxis, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

U.S. Blood Supply Safe From Zika Virus, Officials Say

Posted 7 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 – U.S. blood banks are confident they have the tools to protect America's blood supply from possible new Zika virus outbreaks during the upcoming mosquito season. A transfusion of Zika-tainted blood can pass the virus to an unsuspecting recipient, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But sophisticated genetic tests and blood processing procedures make it highly unlikely that anyone will contract Zika from donated blood, according to a series of articles in a special issue of the journal Transfusion. Every blood donation in the United States undergoes testing for the presence of Zika virus, based on guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Susan Stramer, vice president of scientific affairs for the American Red Cross. About 40 U.S. donations have tested positive for Zika since screening began, mostly in Florida, Stramer ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Transfusion, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Blood Cell Transplantation

Birth Defects Strike 1 in 10 U.S. Pregnancies Affected by Zika

Posted 4 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 4, 2017 – One in 10 pregnant U.S. women with confirmed Zika infection in 2016 had a baby with virus-related birth defects, federal health officials reported Tuesday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year received reports from 44 states of nearly 1,300 expecting mothers with possible Zika infection. In most cases, Zika was acquired during travel abroad to an area with active transmission of the mosquito-borne virus. Lab tests confirmed Zika infection in 250 of the women. Of those, 24 completed their pregnancy with a fetus or baby that suffered birth defects linked to the virus, the CDC said. The new report "confirms the now indisputable evidence that Zika has a great capacity to cause birth defects, especially in the first trimester," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an affiliated scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. "Among ... Read more

Related support groups: Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

Scientists Probe Zika's Path to the Fetus

Posted 4 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 4, 2017 – In order for the mosquito-borne Zika virus to cause birth defects, it must first cross an infected woman's placenta to infect the fetus. Now, researchers led by Dr. Robert Linhardt of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore say they've identified how Zika does this – and possible ways to stop it. Throughout South America, the Zika virus has so far caused thousands of cases of devastating birth defects, most often microcephaly – babies born with a smaller-than-normal head and underdeveloped brains. So far, only a few such cases have occurred in the United States, but infections are a concern as the summer mosquito season nears. "We think Zika is going to come back with a vengeance this summer. That's why we are working really hard to understand Zika as best as we can, as fast as we can," Linhardt, a chemical biologist at Hopkins, said in a news release from the ... Read more

Related support groups: Hydrocephalus, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Cases of Zika-Linked Birth Defects Dropped in Brazil in 2016

Posted 29 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 – Brazil experienced a smaller-than-expected increase in cases of microcephaly in 2016, despite the continued spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Researchers predicted 1,133 cases of microcephaly would occur between May and December 2016, but only 83 cases were reported by local health officials, said senior researcher Christopher Dye. He is director of strategy, policy and information for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Zika causes microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small skulls and underdeveloped brains. Brazil served as the epicenter of the 2015 Zika outbreak in South America, and it was the country that endured the highest rates of microcephaly and other Zika-related neurological birth defects that year. Zika reemerged in Brazil early in 2016, and so researchers expected more cases of microcephaly ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

Zika Virus May Also Harm the Heart

Posted 9 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 9, 2017 – Zika may cause heart problems in some people infected with the mosquito-borne virus, researchers report. A new study has identified nine Venezuelan patients who suffered from heart problems shortly after coming down with Zika virus symptoms. Eight of the nine patients developed dangerous heart rhythm disorders, and two-thirds had evidence of heart failure, a condition in which the heart isn't pumping enough blood to meet the body's needs. Lead researcher Dr. Karina Gonzalez Carta said doctors should consider electrocardiograms (ECG) for all Zika-infected patients, and follow-up testing if an irregular heartbeat is detected. "While we anticipated we would see cardiovascular effects from Zika, we were surprised at the severity of the findings," said Carta, a Venezuelan native, and a cardiologist and research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn. This is ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Heart Disease, Conjunctivitis, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Risk of Birth Defects 20 Times Higher for Zika Moms: CDC

Posted 2 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 2, 2017 – Pregnant women infected with the Zika virus are 20 times more likely to have a baby born with certain birth defects as mothers who gave birth before the Zika epidemic began, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. Even worse, "when you look just at brain abnormalities and microcephaly, what we are seeing is more than 30 times higher than the prevalence before Zika was introduced to the Americas," said Margaret Honein. She is chief of the birth defects branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With microcephaly, babies are born with a smaller-than-normal head and an underdeveloped brain. Since the mosquito-borne virus first began to spread through South America in April 2015, thousands of babies have been born with Zika-linked microcephaly. The large majority have been born in Brazil, but the consequences of Zika infection during pregnancy ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Zika Infection Shrinks Testicles in Mice

Posted 23 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22, 2017 – Zika virus can be sexually transmitted through semen, and a new mouse study could help explain why that occurs – and how the virus might damage male fertility. In lab research, Zika attacked the testicles of mice, targeting cells that produce the male hormone testosterone and ultimately causing testes to shrink, the researchers said. These findings "explain the persistence of the virus in semen," said Dr. Amesh Adalja. "If these findings hold in humans, the long-term consequences could include diminished fertility in males who were infected with Zika," said Adalja, an affiliated scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. He was not involved in the study. Zika typically is transmitted via mosquito bites, but researchers have learned that the virus also can be transmitted through a man's semen. As a result, the U.S. Centers for ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Scientists Probe Zika's Devastating Effect on Pregnancy

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 – Working with mice, researchers have learned more about how exposure to Zika virus early in pregnancy may increase the risk for miscarriage. Normally, the placenta protects a developing fetus from viral infections. But, somehow, Zika seems able to cross the placenta in early pregnancy, the study authors said. The mouse study also found that Zika-exposed fetuses that survive are more likely to be born with thinner-than-normal brain tissue, as well as brain cell inflammation. The researchers believe that their findings highlight a point of vulnerability that could be a potential target for future Zika interventions. "We need to find a way to stop transmission of Zika through the placenta into the fetus, because that is where the damage is being done," said study co-leader Sabra Klein. She is an immunologist and microbiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

New Zika Vaccine Candidate Provides Powerful Protection

Posted 3 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – A single dose of an experimental Zika vaccine protected mice and monkeys from the virus, researchers report. Following Zika virus outbreaks in Latin America and some parts of the southern United States, scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine against the virus. Several vaccines have been tested in animals, but this is the first one to show strong and long-lasting protection without the use of a live virus, the researchers said. However, animal research does not always pan out in humans. Traditional vaccines contain a weakened or killed version of the target virus or isolated viral proteins. This vaccine uses tiny strands of RNA that contain the genetic codes for making viral proteins, according to the study authors. One injection of the vaccine triggered a rapid immune response in mice and protected them from intravenous exposure to Zika two weeks ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Vaccination and Prophlaxis

Risk of Death Due to Birth Defects Higher If Baby Covered by Medicaid

Posted 26 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 2017 – Severe birth defects cause about one in every five infant deaths in the United States. Now, new research finds that the odds for one of these tragic events rise if a newborn is covered by Medicaid rather than private insurance. For babies born at term, deaths due to birth defects "were approximately 45 percent higher for deliveries covered by Medicaid than those covered by private insurance," said a team led by Lynn Almli. She's from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medicaid is the publicly funded insurance program for the poor. Severe birth defects are rare, but can include heart defects; central nervous system defects such as spina bifida; or chromosomal abnormalities that can result in severe mental and/or physical disabilities. The new study sought to determine ... Read more

Related support groups: Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Spina bifida, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

U.S. Health Care Costs From Birth Defects Total Almost $23 Billion a Year

Posted 20 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2017 – About three of every 100 U.S. newborns have a serious birth defect, and health care costs tied to these difficulties total almost $23 billion annually, new research shows. The findings might help "motivate change" in reducing costs associated with birth defects "through prevention, early detection and care throughout the life span," said researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the advocacy group March of Dimes, birth defects are health conditions in newborns that "change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body." Common and serious birth defects include heart defects, cleft lip/palate and spina bifida (a major spinal cord defect), the group said. Each year in the United States, more than 120,000 babies are born with a birth defect, the March of Dimes said. The costs to the baby's health – and the ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Emergency Contraception, Postcoital Contraception, Delivery, Labor Induction, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Labor Pain, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

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