The battle against Zika may have some new firepower. A single dose of a human antibody called ZIKV-117 can protect mice from death after Zika infection — and shield mouse fetuses from the virus’s damaging effects, researchers report November 7 in Nature.
In humans, Zika virus infection during pregnancy has been linked to a suite of birth defects including a condition known as microcephaly, which leaves babies with shrunken heads and brains. It’s not yet clear whether a new treatment based on the antibody would work in humans (or even in monkeys). But if it does, ZIKV-117 could potentially offer pregnant women a way to defend themselves — and their babies — from a virus that tore through Brazil and has now encroached upon the United States.