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Stopping the Spread
06 March 2018

Stopping the Spread

The rise of Zika virus has caused global concern. Though rarely life threatening, Zika can have severe impacts on the unborn during pregnancy, and while vaccines are being developed, novel approaches to contain it are needed. It’s best known as a mosquito-borne disease, but Zika can also be sexually transmitted, as it takes hold in the male testes. Research shows that its impacts on testes are partly caused by oxidative stress (an imbalance of particular oxygen-containing molecules). A study looked at what effect ebselen – an antioxidant – might have combatting this stress, and found it both reduced testicular damage and prevented sexual transmission. The testes of mice infected with Zika (left) showed very few potential sperm cells (green), whereas they were plentiful in the recovering, treated mouse (right). Ebselen is being tested in clinical trials for a range of diseases – perhaps Zika should be next on the list.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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