Malaria Treatments Could Successfully Treat Zika Victims As Well
Zika virus may not cause many complications or intolerable symptoms for the majority of sufferers, but for pregnant women infected with the virus, Zika could cause severe birth defects to unborn fetuses. The Zika virus penetrates the body’s protective barriers, leading to damage to a pregnant woman’s fetus. Sadly, the past two years of Zika research has not produced many results that could save unborn babies from Zika-induced birth defects. Billions of dollars have been spent studying the virus, yet medical professionals are still not even close to a vaccine. However, there is some good news, as one researcher and her team have discovered that a drug, which is already in existence, could help to prevent birth defects to babies that have acquired the Zika virus from their mothers.
According to Indira Mysorekar, an associate professor at Washington University, an antimalarial drug has been shown to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus from mother to fetus in mice. This drug is known as hydroxychloroquine and it reduces the viral load of Zika in the placenta of impregnated mice, as well as in the brains of baby mice. The drug did not reduce the viral load outside of the placenta, which indicates that this antimalarial drug helps the placenta to do its job by protecting the fetus from outside contaminants. Of course, this treatment will have to be repeated in humans, but hopefully similar, or even more promising, results will be demonstrated.
This particular antimalarial drug is very common, inexpensive, and safe, which makes it an ideal treatment option for Zika sufferers that are expecting to give birth. Also, this drug has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so years of testing will not be necessary, and this will lead to countless babies being given a shot at living a life free from the physical defects caused by the Zika virus.
Why do you think that this drug has not already been recognized as an effective Zika treatment?