With the Rio Olympics months away and many Canadians taking trips down south during the winter months, the Executive Director of VIDO-Intervac says the science community is being proactive instead of reactive against the Zika virus.
The virus, transmitted by mosquitos, has been causing birth defects in newborn children including smaller heads.
Executive Director of VIDO Intervac Andrew Potter says his laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan campus has partnered with the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to find out how the Zika virus makes it to a woman’s fetus.
Potter says the virus is in the same family as the West Nile virus, but they haven’t been able to find out how the virus travels through the human body.
Potter says they are using pig organs to conduct their research, and is confident that, with their facilities and animal models, they are well positioned to find out the cause.
If they can do so, Potter says they can then work on finding a way to block the research.
Potter says labs around the world are working hard to ensure the virus can be stopped before it becomes an emergency.
He says the virus has the potential to spread to other continents, including Asia and Africa.