Protection From Zika May Come From Mosquito Saliva

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In a surprising turn of events, the spreader of the Zika virus may also be the answer to a preventative measure.

According to Laboratory Equipment Magazine, a group of investigators from Yale believe they’re on the right track for finding a preventative measure for the Zika virus. The plot twist: It’s inside mosquitoes.

The Zika virus has infected people from many different countries, spanning from the United States and South America to the Caribbean and Asia, according to the Center for Disease Control. It presents as a fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis, and/or muscle pain. It has especially dangerous symptoms for pregnant women since the virus can be passed to the fetus and cause potential brain damage. For all of these reasons, and more, doctors have been on the search for a cure.

The study, which was published in Nature Microbiology, shares that a specific protein––called AgBR1, for any medical or mosquito professionals––sourced from mosquito saliva helped reduce the infection in the mice that were tested. As a reminder, Zika is transmitted through infected mosquitoes, which makes this new discovery even wilder.

Related: Do I Still Need to Worry About Zika?

Instead of offering a cure after already being infected, the team from Yale discovered that an increase in the AgBR1 protein antibodies helped protect the mice from the infection. While this is far from a total cure, it’s a step in the right direction.

And this would only be a beginning. A breakthrough like this would only help doctors combat similar viruses. Not to mention it would help boost tourist traffic to so many places around the world.