Ever since Zika virus outbreak started showing up on news programs all over the world, we know that Zika virus is dangerous to pregnant woman, because it can cause microcephaly in newborns – a disease that is linked to defects like brain damage. However, new study is indicating, that pregnant woman shouldn’t be the only ones fearing Zika, since it might cause symptoms like long term memory damage and cognitive skill decline, that very much resemble those of Alzheimer’s disease.
This study was done by scientists at The Rockefeller University and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, who tested the effects of Zika virus on adult’s brain on engineered mice, that were made to resemble human Zika infection effects. They used fluorescent bio markers to be able to see which part of the brain the virus invades. And the results that the researchers got were shocking and alarming.
The scientists deducted that the Zika virus infection actually attacked the mice brain cells that are not yet matured in their brain. And since these immature cells are linked to learning and memory processes of human brain, the decline of these cells could mean that people might experience long-term memory damage and loss, troubles learning and remembering new information, depression and other symptoms that actually closely resembles how Alzheimer’s disease manifests itself. Whats more, if these attacks of Zika virus on the brain cells aren’t stopped, they could even potentially cause brain shrinkage and damage to the cognitive processes in human brain, which essentially means that Zika infection is a huge threat to adult brain.
Although it is not clear to what extent the Zika virus effects in mouse actually translates to humans, since only one study has been done on this as of yet, it still is enough to cause worry, because these results only prove, that everybody should be wary of Zika virus. And if we factor in the new reports, that Zika might be not only causing brain damage but hearing loss in newborns, too, it only adds to the necessity to find a vaccine for this virus and to actually find ways to eradicate the Zika carrying mosquitoes, so they cannot do any more damage.
Where are we at with Zika vaccine or ways to combat Zika virus? As of rights now scientists are slowly getting closer to creating a vaccine against Zika that actually works. However, since not much is known about Zika virus and how it affects us, and only now studies like one mentioned before are inching closer to understand this mosquito-borne disease, it might still be a while until we get Zika vaccine or scientists come up with a way how to make sure that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes don’t carry Zika anymore and therefore don’t spread it further.