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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a prospective study to determine if coinfection with Zika virus and HIV in pregnant women increases the risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) or exacerbates the effects of either disease on the child. This study was inspired by other studies where women with coinfections of syphilis and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) showed an increase in the number of fetal infections of HSV-2.
Researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development are concerned that treatment for Zika virus may interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are normally given to mothers to decrease the chance of MTCT. They also hope to document if coinfection increases risk of damage to the fetal brain, as seen with Zika.
The initial study, which is currently enrolling patients in Puerto Rico, will consist of pregnant women infected with HIV or Zika virus alone or in combination, and women not infected with either virus. All women will be monitored throughout their pregnancies and for 6 months after birth. Their infants will be monitored for 1 year.
Researchers hope that the results of their study will help practitioners provide the best possible care for their patients, especially in those areas where HIV infection is widespread. In addition, they hope to obtain information sufficient to determine whether other infections such as Dengue Fever or other flaviviruses may also potentiate the impact of Zika virus.
The entire project is expected to run from 4 to 6 years and is anticipated to include 2000 women in the continental United States and Brazil.
NIH launches prospective study of Zika and HIV co-infection during pregnancy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/071017-zika-HIV.aspx. Accessed on July 26, 2017.
Castles, T. NIH to Study Zika and HIV in Pregnant Women. Contagion Live, Infectious Diseases Today website. http://www.contagionlive.com/news/nih-to-study-zika-and-hiv-in-pregnant-women. July 12, 2017. Accessed July 26, 2017.