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Zika virus had created panic in the community quite recently. And the worst part about the disease was that there was no such vaccine or medication to reverse the condition.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted primarily by an infected female (Aedes aegypti) mosquito. This is the same mosquito type that is responsible for the spread of chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever.
A new study has found that the drug used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective against Zika virus.
The medication, called chloroquine, has a long history of safe use during pregnancy, and is relatively inexpensive, according to the study.
Zika virus remains a major global health risk. In most adults, Zika causes mild flu-like symptoms. However in pregnant women, the virus can cause serious birth defects in babies - including microcephaly - a neurological condition in which newborns have unusually small heads and fail to develop properly. There is no treatment or way to reverse the condition.
"There is still an urgent need to bolster our preparedness and capacity to respond to the next Zika outbreak," said Alexey Terskikh, from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in the US.
"Our latest research suggests the anti-malaria drug chloroquine may be an effective drug to treat and prevent Zika infections," Terskikh said.
The study examined the effect of chloroquine in human brain organoids and pregnant mice infected with the virus, and found the drug markedly reduced the amount of Zika virus in maternal blood and neural progenitor cells in the fetal brain.
Pregnant mice received chloroquine through drinking water in dosages equivalent to acceptable levels used in humans.
"Chloroquine has a long history of successfully treating malaria, and there are no reports of it causing birth defects," said Terskikh. "Additional studies are certainly needed to determine the precise details of how it works.
But given its low cost, availability and safety history further study in a clinical trial to test its effectiveness against Zika virus in humans is merited," Terskikh added.
The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Listed here are a few of the best ways to prevent zika virus. Take a look.
1. Use Mosquito Repellents:
If you feel that there are mosquitoes hovering around make sure to use a good mosquito repellent. This helps in preventing you from mosquito bite. There are different types of mosquito repellents available in the market, but herbal ones are always the best and safe for kids as well.
2. Keep Your Surroundings Clean:
Since mosquito breeds in water, make sure to keep your surroundings clean and avoid any water getting collected around your house. If you see any water getting collected then make sure to remove the water and keep your surroundings clean. This helps in preventing breeding of mosquitoes.
3. Long Sleeve Clothes:
Make it a point to wear long sleeve clothes, especially during the morning and the evenings. This helps in protecting yourself from mosquito bite and thus prevent zika virus.
(With Agency Inputs)