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Out in Front on Zika

SriniVas Sadda, MD

President & Chief Scientific Officer

One of the hot topics among my colleagues in this new year is how to combat and treat the Zika virus, because there is now significant data now indicating that the virus affects the eyes of newborns, causing retinal lesions, and leaving large retinal scars that can damage vision.

The Doheny Eye Institute is fortunate to have a handful of the most accomplished pediatric retinal specialists in the world on faculty, including Dr. Irena Tsui, so Zika is prompting new questions and approaches in their research and practice.

As of this week, the CDC has recorded slightly more than 4500 travel- related cases of Zika virus in the US, plus some mosquito-borne cases locally acquired, including in Los Angeles County.

How to identify molecules that can kill Zika- carrying mosquitoes is part of the research already underway, and time is of the essence. As we begin to see more cases of Zika, here, understanding and fighting the disease is increasingly urgent. Together with doctors at the UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute, and in cooperation with their peers at the UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, we at Doheny are part of an excellent team engaged in this pioneering work to protect infants’ eyesight from the Zika virus. As the work unfolds, I promise to keep you apprised.

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