New Antibody Injection May Protect Against Zika

With the rise and spread of the devastating Zika virus, researchers have been racing towards the creation of a vaccine. A new antibody injection, however, may prove more effective and may become available in a timelier manner. A recent lab study has shown success deterring the risk of contracting Zika using a blended dose of three potent antibodies.

Interception with Injection

Modern researchers have been steadfastly working on new forms of immunology to deter and/or fight viruses. Immunology is the branch of science/medicine concerned with the function of the biological immune system and its responses. Immunologists experiment with laboratory techniques that involve the interaction of antigens with antibodies. Antigens are the invaders (toxins, viruses) that trigger and immune response. Antibodies are blood protein molecules that attack antigens.

For decades, immunology has focused on utilizing vaccines to help keep certain diseases and viruses at bay. Vaccines train our immune system to produce its own antibodies to fight off the foreign invader. Instead, injecting pre-made antibodies to provide instant protection against pathogens is a newer practice of immunology. This type of disease-fighting implementation may last temporarily, but it is effective and immediate.

Calling All Antibodies

Antibodies basically block pathogens (like the Zika virus) from entering human cells. The beauty of this science is that the virus can’t spread (or survive) because it can’t make copies of itself outside a cell. Therefore, injecting specific antibodies that targets a specific virus seems like a palpable preventative step. This is exactly what researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were thinking.

Anti-Zika Cocktail

The team of researchers, which included pathologist David Watkins, collected over 90 antibodies from a Zika patient in Columbia. They chose the three most potent antibodies and cloned them to create enough for a series of experimental injections. The injection was introduced into four monkeys a day before being exposed to the Zika virus. None of them became infected—even after three weeks of observation. (Unfortunately, the others who were exposed who were not given the injection of antibodies developed the virus.)

The less-appealing factor of implementing antibodies is that they don’t live incredibly long. They may remain effective for weeks, perhaps months in some instances. So, in order to lower the risk for a pregnant woman from contracting Zika, she would need a few injections over the course of her pregnancy to ensure she remained virus-free.

Pregnant women living in or traveling to areas where Zika is abundant is perilous to the health of their fetus. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly and other neurological birth defects. To understand more about the virus, how it’s contracted, spread, avoided, see https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html

A Protection Against Zika Breakthrough

Although this antibody study was conducted on monkeys, it provides information (and hope) that humans may soon be protected from contracting the Zika virus. It is not a vaccine, but that may be OK. Vaccines can provide longer-lasting protection, but their effects can also vary amongst different individuals.

The next step will be to test the antibody cocktail on pregnant monkeys. Then, after that, clinical trials will need to be conducted with humans. There are several positive notes in this regard: for one, antibody injections may carry fewer or less severe side effects than vaccines; another perk—antibody therapy may contribute to the decrease in many different viruses, including HIV and Ebola.

GetThrive offers an abundance of material on up-to-date, positive, scientific and medical breakthroughs. Check it out to read more about how to help you and your family become the healthiest you can be!

Sources:

http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/410/eaan8184


Cheers! Can A Cocktail Lower Your Risk of Stroke?

There are so many contradictory reports these days on alcohol and its possible health benefits. For sure, heavy drinking is a health impairment, but a new study shows moderate consumption may actually reduce the risk of a stroke.

Three Cheers for One Drink!

There are clinically two types of strokes. An ischemic stroke is caused by blocked blood flow to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the brain.

Ischemic strokes account for about 87 percent of all strokes, according to the American Stroke Association. The research from the newest Swedish study claims that a lower risk of ischemic strokes exists when one or two drinks per day are consumed.

Last Call

Unfortunately, for those light-to-moderate drinkers, the risk of hemorrhagic stroke did not decrease. However, heavy drinking (three or more per day) increases the risk of both types of strokes. The journal BMC Medicine recently published those results.

The Research Team’s Study

Researchers from England and Sweden analyzed the results of 25 separate studies. The good news was that light consumption of alcohol decreased the odds of the more potential type of stroke. Again, however, heavy drinkers were offered a warning.

Those who indulged in three or more libations daily actually became more likely to suffer a hemorrhagic stroke—even though normally (without heavy drinking), a person is actually 5 times more apt to suffer from an ischemic stroke.

The researchers suspect that it’s the way that alcohol affects the body that changes the general “stroke susceptibility” rule to date.

Drink (Lightly) and Be Merry

Indulging in beer, wine, or spirits in moderation, in general, won’t create many health conflicts. And as read, sometimes a drink or too can be beneficial. We’ve read many reports about the benefits of red wine, for example.

The concern here is that alcohol has been connected to a decrease in fibrinogen. Fibrinogen is a protein that helps the body form blood clots. This is why oftentimes we hear about those with an abundant amount of alcohol in their system—they are challenged with the ability to stop bleeding, especially when they’re injured.

It makes sense then that the risk of hemorrhagic stroke would increase with elevated levels of alcohol in the bloodstream.

No Party Poopers!

A drink or two, whether at home, during dinner, or at a celebration can be relaxing and enjoyable. Pacing oneself can be helpful. Perhaps have one cocktail and then refresh with a couple of glasses of water while socializing. Then, have your second, if you desire. Remember to stay hydrated and have food in your stomach, too.

Never drink alcohol and drive a vehicle of any type, even after just one drink. It’s not worth your life or anyone else’s. Also, if you suspect you are pregnant, it’s best for the baby and mom’s health to abstain. As the ads say, please drink responsibly. For more current studies on health food and drink, check out Thrive!