A new oral drug could help reduce the spread of measles.
A new oral antiviral drug may be a future tool in the global fight against measles, according to a new international study.
The research, published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, tested the new drug on ferrets infected with the canine distemper virus (CDV) – a virus with similarities to measles.
CDV is highly lethal to ferrets but all the animals treated with the new drug survived infection, remained disease free and developed robust immunity against the virus.
Although more research is needed before the drug is tested on humans, if successful it could help efforts to eradicate measles by reducing its spread during local outbreaks.
Not for human consumption, yet
In the future, the new oral antiviral drug could be used to treat people exposed to measles, such as family and friends of an infected person. This would help contain the overall spread of the virus.
Ian Barr, deputy director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, said while antiviral drug development was ongoing, a low percentage of the drugs actually made it to the market.
“Many of the antiviral drugs developed can successfully inhibit the virus but the side-effects profile is often the downfall,” Dr Barr said.
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