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Zika infection reduces fertility, lowers testosterone in male mice

August 14, 2019


Within the past year there’s been a an explosion of information to understand how Zika virus causes particular types of disease in fetuses and newborns as well as in adults and in pregnant women. Most of the sexual transmission is occurring male-to-female and male-to-male. And so knowing this, and knowing that you can detect virus in sperm and semen for long periods of time, leads to the hypothesis that the virus is persisting for a long time in the testes or in other organs of the male reproductive tract. So we wanted to know not just was it persisting but what is the consequence of that persistence. We did a longitudinal study where we infected the male mice with Zika virus and what we found was by day 7 you could already detect the virus there and it was cleared by around day 21. But you can see a progressive destruction of the cells in the testes. So by day 21 basically the entire testes was about the tenth of the size of what it originally was. And as a result there was no sperm, there was some detectable virus that was left, but again it was cleared from the serum. So even though the virus was gone the destruction was done. We also mated those mice over 4 cycles and found a decreased number of live births in the infected males. The key implication is what happens in humans. We know that in humans you can get persistent infection from months what we don’t know is does it also cause the same level of injury or not. And is it true for people who had parent infections as well as ones who may not – who maybe have infections but maybe didn’t have many symptoms at all. In other words, does the degree of severity of infection correlate with injury or not. So we don’t know. So those things need to be followed in human trials.

1 Comment

  • Reply Rose Webster November 27, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I am extremely concerned about WHO downgrading Zika's threat to global public health.

    In fact, I wrote to Aileen M. Marty, a member of WHO's Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings, Risk Assessments, Command & Control, EID (Emerging Infectious Diseases), but it didn't go well: http://www.infobarrel.com/Egos_The_Real_Reason_Scientists_are_Unable_to_Solve_Zika_Mysteries

    The WHO is completely wrong to downgrade Zika. What's more, they have known since Feb. 2016 that Culex is also a vector of Zika. Three independent research teams have proven this from Brazil, China, and Canada.

    And Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquitoes might be interconnected with Zika and how it plays out when Culex acquire this Wolbachia (eventually, from waterways, birds, parasites, worms, etc) and infect humans.

    Wolbachia can never be taken back. I am much more concerned about this mosquito control method than genetically-modified mosquitoes (which eventually die): http://www.infobarrel.com/Wolbachia-Infected_Mosquitoes_Might_Reduce_Dengue_Enhance_Zika_and_Cause_a_Million_Souls_to_Become_Sterile

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