Zika Virus Infection Can Lead To Immunity, A Kansas University Study Confirms

By Tony Park - 25 Oct '16 08:29AM
A new study by the Biosecurity Research Insitute at Kansas State University has revealed the low risk of reinfection faced by people who have been previously afflicted by the Zika virus which can cause birth defects. This development is confirmed in a university news release.

Stephen Higgs, director of the Biosecurity Insitute and one of the study's co-authors, shares the study's findings, which were published in the Oct. 13, 2016, edition of the journal "Nature Medicine." Higgs said that there is a link between infection and eventual protection against future reinfection.

"This means people infected during this current epidemic will likely not be susceptible again," Higgs added. He discussed the concept of herd immunity which is focused on the low risk of future epidemics.

CNN reported on a June 2016 study by the Wisconsin National Primate Reseach Center  that appeared online in an open research portal. Co-author David O'Connor and his team's findings supported the Kansas University study, which highlighted the protection from future infections provided by the same virus

O'Connor cited another study that appeared in the June 2, 2016, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that shows the termination of Zika virus infection in pregnant women at 21 weeks of gestation.

Higg's team discovered the presence of Zika virus in the blood at the very early stages of infection. The virus remains in saliva and seminal fluids for a long time - an issue that needs further research said Higgs.

The Kansas State University study developed better models for improving Zika virus research and for quick analysis of vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. recorded about 3,936 cases of Zika infection as of this writing. More than 25,000 cases have been received in the U.S. territories.

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