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Zika infection affects foetal retinal development

Researchers have highlighted that Zika can cause congenital ocular defects although it does not seem to influence ocular growth after birth

Pixabay/Егор Камелев

Scientists have reported that Zika infections does not appear to affect the development of the eye postnatally.

The research, which was published in JCI Insight, highlighted that Zika infection during the first trimester of pregnancy has the potential to affect foetal retinal development.

Associate professor, Glenn Yiu, from the University of California, Davis, highlighted that it was previously unclear whether the virus continued to affect eye development after birth.

“Our study in rhesus monkeys suggest that the virus primarily affects foetal development during pregnancy, but not the growth of eye after birth,” he said.

The research involved infecting two pregnant rhesus monkeys with the Zika virus late in the first trimester of their pregnancy, before studying the ocular development of the Zika-exposed infants.

The infant monkeys had ocular birth defects, including a missing gap in the eye due to abnormal development.

However, their eyes appeared to develop normally over the first two years.