Chloroquine Blocks Zika Infection In Mice

Scientist in China have demonstrated that the FDA-approved drug chloroquine prevents Zika virus infection and its associated congenital microcephaly in mice.

AsianScientist (Nov. 9, 2017) – In a study published in the journal EBioMedicine, scientists in China have found that chloroquine could significantly suppress Zika virus (ZIKV) infection and prevent congenital microcephaly in mice.

ZIKV was first identified in 1947 from a rhesus monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda. Human cases were later reported in both Africa and Asia. Since 2013, human infection with the Asian lineage of ZIKV in the South Pacific and the Americas has been reported to be associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, meningoencephalitis and congenital microcephaly. However, there are currently no FDA-approved drugs available for the prevention or treatment of ZIKV infection or its associated risk of congenital defects.

In this study, a group of researchers led by Professor Xu Zhiheng from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, found that chloroquine could significantly suppress ZIKV infection and prevent associated congenital microcephaly in mice.

The researchers first screened 16 Ebola virus entry inhibitors reported previously via cell infection experiments, and discovered that the FDA-approved drugs chloroquine, clomiphene, amodiaquine, alverine and sertraline could inhibit the early stages of ZIKV infection.

They then tested the ability of chloroquine to protect against ZIKV infection in a mouse model, demonstrating that the viral titer in the blood of infected mice was significantly reduced after chloroquine treatment. Their work suggests that chloroquine could potentially be used to treat ZIKV infection.

The article can be found at: Li et al. (2017) Chloroquine, a FDA-approved Drug, Prevents Zika Virus Infection and its Associated Congenital Microcephaly in Mice.


Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Pexels.
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