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Chinese Scientists Find Facilitator in Zika Transmission

Mar 07, 2018     Email"> PrintText Size

Chinese scientists have found that LTRIN, a protein obtained from the salivary glands of Aedes aegypti, or yellow fever mosquito, facilitates the transmission of the Zika virus.

Researchers at Kunming Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that the finding offers a potential therapeutic strategy for diminishing Zika transmission.

LTRIN modulates the host immune responses to a mosquito bite, providing chances for Zika virus to spread, according to Jin Lin, researcher with the institute and the lead author of the research paper published in the scientific journal "Nature Immunology" on Monday.

"With the finding, an antibody to the protein may be used on susceptible groups to decrease the possibility of Zika infections," said Lai Ren, another researcher with the institute.

Identified in the 1940s in Africa, Zika is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, leading to defects in infants, including microcephaly that causes abnormally small brains and heads.

Since 2015, the Zika virus has swept through more than 60 countries. The epidemic led the World Health Organization to issue an alert in December 2015.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika. (Xinhua)

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(Editor: LIU Jia)

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