Spanish scientists discover compound that can combat effects of Zika virus

Jul 24, 2017 16:55 IST

 Spanish scientists develop ‘anti-Zika drug’ Researchers from a southeastern Spanish University have announced the discovery of a molecule that could be used to combat the effects of Zika virus.

According to a statement released by the San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia on 22 July 2017, researchers from its Bioinformatics and High-Performance Computing research group have discovered that a compound called ‘novobiocin’ that was previously used as an anti-biotic countered the symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease.

"It's a drug that had been withdrawn from the market because it had lost its potency as an antibiotic, but we know it can be administered to humans," said Jos� Pedro Cer�n, a member of the research team.


Key Highlights

• The molecular structure of the proteins involved in the Zika virus' replication process was first described only a year ago.

• Researchers focused on an antibiotic that had been previously prescribed to fight off nosocomial infections, the infections that are acquired inside a hospital.

• The teams of both universities have now patented the molecule as an anti-Zika treatment.

• The compound, known as ‘novobiocin’ had phenomenal results when given to mice with a 100 per cent cure rate.

• The only remaining task is to figure out the correct proportion of dose needed to cure humans with a 100 per cent success rate.

The research team comprising four members including Cer�n, De Haan, Horacio P�rez S�nchez and Jorge de la Pe�a-Garc�a, make up the only Spanish team to have published papers in the field of anti-Zika drugs.

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About Zika Virus

• The Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.

• The symptoms experienced by those affected include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache. The duration of these symptoms is normally for 2-7 days.

• The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever.

• It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

• Outbreaks of the disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

• It saw a swift expansion between early 2015 and January 2016 throughout South America and the Caribbean.

• It was around the same time that factors such as tropical climates and insufficient mosquito-population control led the World Health Organization to term the disease as an epidemic and a global emergency.

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Read more Current Affairs on: Zika Virus , Molecular , Aedes , World Health Organization , Epidemic

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