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UMMS infectious experts weigh in on Zika virus research for STAT

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

March 08, 2016

Scientists are examining how viruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) rarely cause symptoms in healthy adults but can significantly impact a developing fetus, as they work to understand the explosion in Zika-linked microcephaly cases in South and Central America, according to experts from UMass Medical School quoted in a March 7 STAT story.

Laura Gibson, MD, associate professor of medicine and division chief for the Department of Medicine-Pediatrics, and Sharone Green, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, explained how researchers are studying what’s happening to the developing baby’s brain. Dr. Gibson, who researches CMV, explained that the virus attaches itself to an antibody and invades the fetal side later in pregnancy when the baby is rapidly swallowing up maternal antibodies to build up its own immune system.

Dr. Green, who studies viral infections in the same family as Zika and is set to begin research in this area, said, “It’s [Zika] following the pattern that’s seen with other infections.”

Read the full story: To understand how Zika shrinks a baby’s brain, scientists look to other viruses

Related link on UMassMedNow:
Expert’s Corner: Sharone Green to begin research into Zika virus