Discovery shows existing drugs can treat virus
A team of researchers from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health has found existing drug compounds that can both stop Zika from replicating in the body and from damaging the crucial fetal brain cells that lead to birth defects in newborns.
One of the drugs is already on the market as a treatment for tapeworm.
“We focused on compounds that have the shortest path to clinical use,” said FSU Professor of Biological Science Hengli Tang. “This is a first step toward a therapeutic that can stop transmission of this disease.”
Tang, along with Johns Hopkins Professors Guo-Li Ming and Hongjun Song and National Institutes of Health scientist Wei Zheng identified two different groups of compounds that could potentially be used to treat Zika — one that stops the virus from replicating and the other that stops the virus from killing fetal brain cells, also called neuroprogenitor cells.
One of the identified compounds is the basis for a drug called Nicolsamide, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved drug that showed no danger to pregnant women in animal studies. It is commonly used to treat tapeworm.
This could be prescribed by a doctor today, though tests are still needed to determine a specific treatment regimen for the infection.
Their work is outlined in an article published Monday by Nature Medicine.
Though the Zika virus was discovered in 1947, there was little known about how it worked and its potential health implications — especially among pregnant women — until an outbreak occurred in South America last year. In the United States, there have been 529 cases of pregnant women contracting Zika, though most of those are travel related. As of Aug. 24, there have been 42 of locally transmitted cases in Florida.
The virus, among other diseases, can cause microcephaly in fetuses leading them to be born with severe birth defects.
“It’s so dramatic and irreversible,” Tang said. “The probability of Zika-induced microcephaly occurring doesn’t appear to be that high, but when it does, the damage is horrible.”
Researchers around the world have been feverishly working to better understand the disease — which can be transmitted both by mosquito bite and through a sexual partner — and also to develop medical treatments.
Tang, Ming and Song first met in graduate school 20 years ago and got in contact in January because Tang, a virologist, had access to the virus and Ming and Song, neurologists, had cortical stem cells that scientists needed to test.
The group worked at a breakneck pace with researchers from Ming and Song’s lab, traveling back and forth between Baltimore and Tang’s lab in Tallahassee where they had infected the cells with the virus.
In early March, the group was the first team to show that Zika indeed caused cellular phenotypes consistent with microcephaly, a severe birth defect where babies are born with a much smaller head and brain than normal.
They immediately delved into follow-up work and teamed with NIH’s Zheng, an expert on drug compounds, to find potential treatments for the disease.
Researchers screened 6,000 compounds that were either already approved by the FDA or were in the process of a clinical trial because they could be made more quickly available to people infected by Zika.
“It takes years if not decades to develop a new drug,” Song said. “In this sort of global health emergency, we don’t have time. So instead of using new drugs, we chose to screen existing drugs. In this way, we hope to create a therapy much more quickly.”
All of the researchers are continuing the work on the compounds and hope to begin testing the drugs on animals infected with Zika in the near future.
Learn more: FSU research team makes Zika drug breakthrough
The Latest on: Zika
via Google News
The Latest on: Zika
- Cuba Ready for Any Evidence of Zika Viruson February 27, 2021 at 3:58 pm
The Cuban Health Ministry says that there is no evidence of the Zika virus on the island, while specialists follow all fever syndromes to early detect cases of Zika, Chikungunya or Dengue.
- Puerto Rico Mayors Label Anti-Zika Pesticide Use 'Environmental Terrorism'on February 27, 2021 at 10:14 am
An anti-fumigation movement has been raising concerns about U.S. recommendations to use aerial spraying to control the spread of Zika. Puerto Rican mayors from across the political divide have joined ...
- Research shows how antibodies attach to and block Zika viruson February 25, 2021 at 8:41 am
The Zika outbreak of 2015 and 2016 are having lasting impacts on children whose mothers became infected with the virus while they were pregnant.
- Scientists reveal details of antibodies that work against Zika viruson February 25, 2021 at 4:06 am
The Zika outbreak of 2015 and 2016 is having lasting impacts on children whose mothers became infected with the virus while they were pregnant.
- Models to predict dengue, Zika and yellow fever outbreaks developed by researcherson February 24, 2021 at 5:07 am
Yellow fever was the first human disease to have a licensed vaccine and has long been considered important to understanding how epidemics break out and should be combated. It was introduced to the ...
- Zika Vaccines Market Research Revealing the Growth Rate and Business Opportunities to 2027on February 22, 2021 at 9:27 am
The global Zika Vaccines market is segregated on the basis of Type as Inactivated Vaccine, Purified Inactivated Vaccine, ...
- Zika Virus Market Size 2021: Industry Trend, Supply Demand Scenario, Growth Prospects, Pipeline Projects, Project Economics and Survey till 2026on February 22, 2021 at 9:27 am
In 2021,Zika Virus Market “Size, Trend, Analysis, growth, Trend, Analysis, growth, Status and Forecast 2026 Zika ...
- A genetically stable Zika virus vaccine candidate protects mice against virus infection and vertical transmissionon February 17, 2021 at 3:36 pm
Zika virus (ZIKV), is a re-emerging flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae, a group of single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses, which can be transmitted by mosquito bites, or by sexual contact 1, 2 ...
- New Research on Zika Virus Touts Promising Vaccine Candidateon February 16, 2021 at 1:27 pm
A vaccine candidate shows promise against the Zika virus, a currently untreatable infection that caught international attention during a 2015-2016 epidemic, and a new study has found that ...
- Tomorrow’s Health: preventing dementia, zika vaccine & premature heart diseaseon February 16, 2021 at 5:23 am
Preventing cardiovascular disease in mid-life may also protect against dementia later in life. Researchers in Spain looked at scans of more than 500 middle-age people. They found a connection between ...
via Bing News