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MRIGlobal Furthers Study of Zika Virus Infection Resulting in Microcephaly Using 2016 Patton Trust Research Development

MRIGlobal will further study Zika virus infection resulting in microcephaly. The study will be funded by a newly awarded research development grant from the Paul Patton Trust, Ted C. McCarter, William Evans Jr., Bank of America N.A.

The $50,000 grant was awarded by The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute to support research focused on genetic diseases affecting children.

MRIGlobal will collaborate with the University of Missouri to develop unique animal models to investigate Zika virus infection. The mosquito-borne virus can be passed from mother to fetus via an unknown mechanism, resulting in reduced head circumference due to incomplete brain development called microcephaly. Individuals with this condition have many disabilities. Although there are no treatments for the physical abnormalities associated with this condition, therapies can control seizures, hyperactivity, and other symptoms.

“Zika virus is not well researched and is now known to cause serious birth defects. There is a desperate need to understand how the virus spreads through mosquitos and from mother to baby,” says Carl Gelhaus, Ph.D., Principal Scientist at MRIGlobal. “Our research through animal models will examine how Zika virus spreads to provide tools to the research community and better understand how Zika virus causes microcephaly in a developing fetus. Our hope is that we will identify drug and vaccine targets that can be further developed to stop the devastating effects of Zika virus infection.”

MRIGlobal researches have now successfully cultured Zika virus MR 766 and have established a plaque assay for Zika virus with funding from The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute grant. Initial MRIGlobal animal models investigating the first two weeks post-partum following vertical transmission of Zika virus show promise for continued testing. View current methodological research findings by Carl Gelhuas, Ph.D. here.