Malarial drug inhibits Zika virus growth, IIT Mandi team finds

From The Hindu
January 30, 2019

Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi have found a drug hydroxychloroquine or HCQ, that is already being used for treating malaria to be effective in inhibiting Zika virus growth and replication.

Also, the drug was able to significantly reduce viral load in placental cells. Zika virus is known to damage and kill the placental cells (which act as a barrier to protect the developing foetus from disease-causing organisms) leading to foetal infection. The drug might therefore help in preventing vertical transmission of Zika virus from the placenta to the foetus.

Since the HCQ drug is already approved for use in pregnancy, positive results in human trials will mean that it can be given to pregnant women infected with Zika to reduce the chances of vertical transmission. Some foetuses infected with Zika virus are born with a small head (microcephaly).

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