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Placenta may shield baby from ‘viral invaders’

Cells of the placenta appear to have a unique ability to prevent viruses from crossing from an expectant mother to her growing baby. It may be possible to transfer that trait to other kinds of cells, researchers say. The findings shed new light on the workings of the placenta and could point to new approaches to combat viral infections during pregnancy.

It is imperative that the fetus be protected from infections of its mother in order to develop properly, says co-senior investigator Yoel Sadovsky, chair of Women’s Health Research and professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

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