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The Zika virus, which can cause devastating damage to the brains of developing fetuses could one day be developed to effectively treat glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer. The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine conducted some research that shows that the virus kills brain cancer stem cells, the type of cell most resistant to treatments. 

Bhandari, Tamara. “Zika virus kills brain cancer stem cells.” Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 5 Sept. 2017,

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image credit: Graphical Abstract, Authors
Jonathan J. Miner, Abdoulaye Sene,
Justin M. Richner, Gregory D. Ebel,
Michael S. Diamond, Rajendra S. Apte

Miner et al., Zika Virus Infection in Mice Causes Panuveitis with Shedding of Virus in Tears, Cell Reports (2016), 

“Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging flavivirus that causes congenital abnormalities and Guillain-Barré syndrome. ZIKV infection also results in severe eye disease characterized by optic neuritis, chorioretinal atrophy, and blindness in newborns and conjunctivitis and uveitis in adults. We evaluated ZIKV infection of the eye by using recently developed mouse models of pathogenesis. ZIKV-inoculated mice developed conjunctivitis, panuveitis, and infection of the cornea, iris, optic nerve, and ganglion and bipolar cells in the retina.” Read More

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“There were few studies of Zika virus (ZIKV), a
flavivirus, until this past year, when large epidemics
in the Americas were accompanied by
unexpectedly severe clinical manifestations. Infection
in pregnant women has emerged as a
major global concern because of its linkage to
congenital abnormalities including microcephaly,
spontaneous abortion, and intrauterine growth
In addition, ZIKV infection in other
age groups has been associated with severe neurologic
disease and the Guillain–Barré syndrome.” 
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Researchers around the world have been racing to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, and it appears that a large team of US researchers have developed two very promising candidates.

According to a report published in the journal Nature, researchers developed one potential vaccine using a Zika virus isolated in Brazil, and another candidate using a Zika virus isolated in Puerto Rico. Preclinical results showed both candidates were able to protect mice against an infection with the Zika virus by stimulating the rodents’ immune system. Furthermore, neither candidate was found to have significant side effects. Read More

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