How a Drug For Pets May Help Prevent Zika and Malaria

July 2, 2018

Diseases spread by pests like mosquitoes and fleas remain global health problems. To prevent transmission, public health strategy has largely focused on using insecticides or bed nets. Vaccines are also under development for diseases like Zika, but few are approved for use. Now, a new study suggests that medicines already used for pets to protect against fleas and ticks could offer similar protection for humans.

In the report, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the nonprofit drug discovery institute Calibr and TropIQ Health Sciences report that drugs called isoxazolines, which are currently sold as veterinary products like fluralaner (Bravecto) and afoxolaner (NexGard), might also work in humans to kill off pests like mosquitoes that spread diseases like Zika and malaria.

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