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Researchers look to repurpose approved drugs to treat Zika virus

Shared by Radhika Narayanan | 12 6 2 | about 3 years ago

ATLANTA — The need for drugs to prevent and treat Zika infections grows with every new patient diagnosed. The virus causes devastating birth defects and is strongly linked to a type of paralysis called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

There are currently no approved drugs against Zika; developing a new medication for any disease can take 10 to 20 years.

“The sense of urgency is enormous,” said Mauro Martins Teixeira, who heads the immunopharmacology laboratory at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. “In an emergency, everyone wants quick answers.”

That’s why many researchers are taking a closer look at older drugs, testing them to see if they might block infection with the virus or prevent it from harm the brain and nervous system, said Teixeira, who spoke Monday at a Zika conference at Atlanta’s Emory University.

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