Three new experiments studying how Zika affects a developing fetus could provide proof of a causal link between the outbreak in Brazil and the spate of birth defects in babies that followed.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to a severe birth defect in babies called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head.
Thus far, most research on the virus has focused on the damage it inflicts on newborns. Now, scientists are using mice to better understand how exactly Zika damages the brain.
A Washington State University research team found that the virus, when injected into pregnant mice, preferentially target the placenta, damaging it and using it to leak into the fetus.