PROTECT and CRECE to Study Zika in Pregnancy


On Friday, July 15th, PROTECT and CRECE received funding from the NIEHS to study the Zika virus in Puerto Rico. This funding is part of the Zika Infants and Pregnancy (ZIP) study, which aims to enroll 10,000 women from 15 different countries in a study to assess the outcomes of a Zika infection during pregnancy. PROTECT will recruit 450 women in Puerto Rico to follow during their pregnancies, and will compare the results from women infected by the virus with those who are not infected.

The ZIP study will assess rates of miscarriage, preterm birth, microcephaly, neurological development issues, and other possible complications. The children will be followed for at least one year after birth at the PROTECT/CRECE clinic. PROTECT will also investigate whether the combination of environmental factors and Zika infections has an impact on birth outcomes and child development. The multidisciplinary research projects under PROTECT and CRECE are uniquely situated to examine the interplay of these multiple environmental factors.

Participants will have monthly follow-up appointments throughout their pregnancies, and will also be asked to submit weekly samples that will be analyzed for signs of the Zika virus. Infants will have quarterly follow-up evaluations for at least one year after birth.

PROTECT is the first center to begin work on the ZIP study, with locations in Brazil, Colombia, and other Zika-endemic areas to follow in the coming months. Since January, when the Zika virus arrived in Puerto Rico, PROTECT and CRECE have been involved in raising awareness of the virus and the best practices for avoiding exposure. Visit our News page to learn more.