Scientists working on Zika virus treatment have undergone a special screen test for new drugs on laboratory-grown human cells, which have been found to be effective on the infection.
The Nature Medicine published a work on Aug. 29 stating that there are three already-developed drugs that might provide proper protection to women and their foetuses against Zika. The scientists claimed that they tested almost 6,000 existing compounds for different human conditions. This was where they found that some of them have the ability to treat the infection. Those drugs were either already approved or were in the clinical trial stage.
The team of scientists consisted of researchers from the National Institutes of Health, John Hopkins University School of Medicine and Florida State University.”It takes years, if not decades, to develop a new drug,” John Hopkins’ Institute of Cell Engineering’s Stem Cell Program Director Hongjun Song said. “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,” the university’s Neurology Professor Guo-li Ming added as quoted by Science Daily. “In this way, we hope to create a therapy much more quickly.”
Co-author and Florida State University graduate Emily Lee claimed that the drugs that were decided for screen test were already approved by the FDA or were in “some stage of clinical development.”
One of the drugs, UPI reported, is Niclosamide that is already in the market for curing tapeworm diseases. They also exhibit an anti-viral nature, which might help in curing Zika virus infection in humans.
The second one is PHA-690509. It is still in its development phase and it works with genetic expression interference.
The third is Emricasan. It is awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. It might not cure Zika virus but it can successfully prevent brain cells from getting damaged because of the infection.