Researchers from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health published a study Monday, August 29, that identifies the first possible cure for the Zika virus.
The study shows that existing drugs, like Niclosamide, a drug proven to treat tapeworms, has the ability to stop the virus from replicating in the body and damaging fetal cells. While the study still requires further testing, researchers remain hopeful that a possible cure is within reach.
“We focused on compounds that have the shortest path to clinical use,” said FSU Professor of Biological Science Hengli Tang in a statement. “This is a first step toward a therapeutic that can stop transmission of this disease.”
According to Orlando Weekly, Tang and her colleges screened over 6,000 compounds that were already approved by the FDA. Researchers plan to test the drug on animals who already have the Zika virus.
“It takes years if not decades to develop a new drug,” Hongjun Song, another researcher, said. “In this sort of global health emergency, we don’t have time. So instead of using new drugs, we chose to screen existing drugs. In this way, we hope to create a therapy much more quickly.”