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FDA suggests blood testing for Zika virus

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Tang and researcher Hongjun Song of Johns Hopkins explained repurposing already-approved drugs is a quicker alternative than developing a new medicine. In July, Florida's Miami-Dade County reported its own first case of a local mosquito-transmitted Zika infection. "If that works really well in mice, with no problems, it would be much easier to move it into primates right away and then into clinical trials right away". Several showed the ability to hinder or halt the progress of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in lab-grown human neural cells. "In this sort of global health emergency, we don't have time".

"Roche, the world's largest maker of cancer drugs and one of the biggest makers of diagnostic tests, has previously developed a blood test for detecting Zika, which was approved by the FDA in March under a so-called Investigational New Drug Application protocol aimed at initiating the collection and testing of blood samples". Although more tests are needed to tailor the drug to the Zika virus infection, Nicolsamide could, in theory, be prescribed by a doctor today. "Independently of evaluating the potential benefits and risks for pregnant women, niclosamide could be used to reduce viral load in infected men and nonpregnnant women, which could reduce transmission and potentially prevent Guillain-Barre syndrome and other Zika-related complications in humans", the study says.

The FDA first recommended in February that only areas with active Zika transmission screen blood donations.

"And I think we also want to emphasize the importance not only of just screening at birth, but doing follow-up screenings because there also could be later onset hearing loss that occurs with congenital infections". It looks promising, but there will need to be additional tests.

In an earlier study, the researchers had discovered that Zika attacks specific stem cells that develop into neurons in the brain's cortex, which is associated with higher brain function.

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"The idea was to identify drugs that are already out there that could be moved more quickly into clinical studies with people with Zika infections", said Shelton Bradrick, a co-author of the study.

With 56 cases confirmed Monday, the total number of Zika virus infections in Singapore has risen to 82.

The post These 3 existing drugs might fight Zika appeared first on Futurity.

Previously, the FDA recommended that blood donations be screened for Zika only in areas where the virus was being actively transmitted-in Puerto Rico, Florida, and other US territories.

The rest of the country, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, have 12 weeks to comply.

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