Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and UC San Diego School of Medicine discovered that malaria medication can be useful in treating Zika
The inexpensive chloroquine, with a long history for safe use is the drug that researchers believe can also treat Zika, the disease that yet remains a global public health risk.
As the new study conducted on mice and recently published in the Scientific Reports journal shows, the drug reduced the amount of Zika virus in both maternal blood and neural cells in the brain of the fetuses.
With the Zika infection being similar in both mice and humans, several chloroquine experiments on mice models suggested that it could limit the neurological damage of infected newborns.
According to co-senior author Professor Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., the research, also the first of its kind, is extremely important in order for the medical community worldwide be able to respond to the next Zika outbreak.
Chloroquine is an effective, available and affordable drug used successfully for treating malaria epidemics. Nevertheless, further clinical trials will be necessary to investigate the exact mechanism of combating the Zika virus efficiently.
Zika causes mild flu-like symptoms in adults and microcephaly in newborns. So far, there is no known cure for the condition.