MEDICAL: DISEASES: ZIKA VIRUS :
Zika Treatable with Existing Drugs, Says Breakthrough Study
Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Published: Tuesday 30 August 2016
Medical News Today (MNT)
“We focused on compounds that have the shortest path to clinical use. This is a first step toward a therapeutic that can stop transmission of this disease.”
One of the compounds he and his colleagues discovered is the basis for a drug called Niclosamide that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug is commonly used to treat tapeworm and animal studies show it is safe for use in pregnancy.
In theory, doctors could prescribe the drug today, but it needs to undergo tests to repurpose it as a treatment for Zika virus infection.
Earlier this year, members of the team had found a link between Zika and microcephaly – a severe birth defect where babies are born with a much smaller head and brain. This led to the search for drug compounds that might prevent the viral damage.
Repurposing screen sifted through 6,000 existing drugs
For their new work, the team developed a drug repurposing screen, a relatively new method that researchers are using to speed up drug development.
The two classes of compounds they identified are capable of protecting brain cells from cell death induced by Zika virus activity.
One class of compounds is antiviral in nature and stops the virus multiplying.
The other class of compounds is neuroprotective in nature and stops the virus carrying out cell-damaging “caspase-3 activity” in human cortical neural progenitors – precursors to brain cells in fetal development.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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