Scientists Creating a Special 3-D Printed Valve to Treat Microcephaly in Unborn Babies

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 24, 2016   |   6:40PM   |   Mexico City, Mexico

While abortion activists are pushing to abort unborn babies with birth defects linked to the Zika virus, some scientists are discovering new and creative ways to save them.

The tech website, which follows 3D printing news, reports a team of scientists in Mexico is working on a 3D printed microvalve to treat unborn babies with microcephaly, a neurological condition linked to the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is believed to be causing microcephaly in some unborn babies when their mothers contract it early in their pregnancy. Not typically fatal, microcephaly causes unborn babies’ heads and brains to be unusually small. The condition has a range of severity. Some people who have microcephaly live independently and have jobs, while others require daily care.

Abortion advocates have been using the virus and the link to microcephaly as an excuse to push for more abortions on babies with disabilities. Some pro-abortion groups even have been scaring women into aborting their unborn babies without knowing if they have Zika or if their unborn baby has a health problem.

The scientists at the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM) in Mexico said their new device could be used on unborn babies with microcephaly to lessen the severity of the condition.

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“It should be noted that this valve does not solve microcephaly, but it will help this congenital disease to not fully develop,” Dr. Said Robles Casolco said.

The report explains more about the new medical device:

Among other causes for the condition is the excess of cerebrospinal fluids in the skull, which can deform and impact the fetus’ head.

To lessen the effects of Microcephaly caused by excess cerebrospinal fluids, the team of scientists from UAEM designed an innovative microvalve that could effectively drain some of the fluid. As Dr. Said Robles Casolco, who works at the Center for Research in Engineering and Applied Sciences at UAEM, explains, if a fetus is diagnosed with Microcephaly (a diagnosis which can usually be made 8 months into the gestation period) the valve, 3D printed from a biocompatible material, can be implanted into the fetus’ skull through a small incision.

Once inserted, the 3D printed microvalve functions solely to release excess cerebrospinal fluid in order to decrease pressure on the brain caused by the excess fluids, thus allowing it to develop more normally. While the valve may not eliminate Microcephaly altogether, it can help to reduce the seriousness of the condition and allow the baby to have fewer developmental problems.

The university researchers said they still are working on the prototype and a patent for it. They said the medical device may be available sometime in 2017.

The Zika virus and microcephaly have become major health concerns in South and Central America, as well as the southern United states. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control reports at least 529 pregnant women have been infected with Zika in the U.S. Five of their unborn babies died in miscarriages or abortions, while 16 other babies were born with birth defects in the U.S., the CDC reports.

Researchers estimate that between 1 percent and 15 percent of pregnant women who contract Zika in the first trimester will have babies with birth defects, according to the Associated Press. The risk appears to be much lower among women who contract the virus in the second and third trimesters, according to researchers.

Research into the virus and the link to birth defects is on-going. Scientists also are working to develop a vaccine for Zika.