A brand new collaborative examine led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has discovered remedy used to stop and deal with malaria can also be efficient for Zika virus. The drug, known as chloroquine, has an extended historical past of secure use throughout being pregnant, and is comparatively cheap. The badysis was printed at present in Scientific Reports.
Zika virus stays a significant world well being danger. In most adults, Zika causes gentle flu-like signs. But in pregnant girls, the virus could cause critical beginning defects in infants–together with microcephaly–a neurological situation during which newborns have unusually small heads and fail to develop correctly. There isn’t any remedy or approach to reverse the situation.
“There is still an urgent need to bolster our preparedness and capacity to respond to the next Zika outbreak,” says Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., affiliate professor at SBP. “Our latest research suggests the anti-malaria drug chloroquine may be an effective drug to treat and prevent Zika infections.”
Terskikh is co-senior writer of a brand new examine that examined the impact of chloroquine in human mind organoids and pregnant mice contaminated with the virus, and located the drug markedly lowered the quantity of Zika virus in maternal blood and neural progenitor cells within the fetal mind. Pregnant mice acquired chloroquine by ingesting water in dosages equal to acceptable ranges utilized in people.
“Our research is the first to study Zika infection in a mouse model that transmits the virus in a way similar to humans,” explains Alysson R. Muotri, Ph.D., professor and director of the Stem Cell Program at UC San Diego and co-senior writer of the examine. “Until now, researchers used a mouse strain that is deficient in interferon–a signaling protein that heightens anti-viral defenses. Those mice actually die from Zika infection, making it difficult to study the natural transmission of the virus from father and mother to fetus and to badess the effect of this transmission on the newborns.”
“We believe our mouse model more accurately represents the way Zika virus infects men, women and babies while in the womb,” provides Terskikh. “Although chloroquine didn’t completely clear Zika from infected mice it did reduce the viral load, suggesting it could limit the neurological damage found in newborns infected by the virus.”
“In the 1950’s, the Brazilian health agencies added chloroquine into cooking salt and distributed it to the population in endemic areas as an effective way of spreading the inexpensive anti-malarial drug as a prophylactic on a wide scale. This strategy was known as Pinotti’s Method, named after its originator Dr. Mario Pinotti. It might be worth considering this medicated salt program one more time in Brazil”, suggests Muotri.
“Chloroquine has a long history of successfully treating malaria, and there are no reports of it causing birth defects,” says Terskikh. “Additional studies are certainly needed to determine the precise details of how it works. But given its low cost, availability and safety history further study in a clinical trial to test its effectiveness against Zika virus in humans is merited.”