These 3 Existing Drugs Might Fight Zika by Shawna Williams-Johns Hopkins – Futurity
Several drugs already in the pharmaceutical arsenal have potential to fight Zika virus infections, tests with lab-grown human cells reveal.
In the journal Nature Medicine, scientists report screening 6,000 existing compounds already approved for human use or in late-stage clinical trials for other conditions. Several showed the ability to hinder or halt the progress of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in lab-grown human neural cells.
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“It takes years if not decades to develop a new drug,” says Hongjun Song of the Institute of Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “In this sort of global health emergency, we don’t have that kind of time.”
“So instead of using new drugs, we chose to screen existing drugs,” adds Guo-li Ming, professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins. “In this way, we hope to create a therapy much more quickly.”
Brain cells survive longer
A Zika outbreak began in South America in mid-2015; the disease is now known to be responsible both for microcephaly, in which infants are born with severely underdeveloped brains, and for temporary paralysis in adults due to Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The Zika virus is commonly transmitted from mosquito bites or through sexual contact. Cases transmitted locally by mosquito have occurred in Puerto Rico and, just