Zika has ben scaring a lot of people in South America and cases have been popping up close to the America. A drug used for Hep C is now showing signs of slowing down the infection in mice. “Virologists from KU Leuven, Belgium, have shown that an experimental antiviral drug against hepatitis C slows down the development of Zika in mice. The research team was led by Professor Johan Neyts from the Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy.
“The Zika virus is transmitted by the tiger mosquito. Roughly twenty percent of the people who are infected actually get sick,” explains Professor Neyts. “The most common symptoms, which last about a week, are fever, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, rash, and red eyes. A small number of infected people go on to develop Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which causes muscle weakness and temporary paralysis. In some cases, the patient needs to be put on a ventilator.”
“The biggest cause for concern is that pregnant women with the infection can pass on the virus to the fetus,” Neyts continues. “As a result, some babies are born with microcephaly, a disorder of the central nervous system whereby the child’s skull and brain are too small. In severe cases, these children grow up with serious physical and mental disabilities.”
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