A pet medicine may protect humans against disease

Diseases like the Zika virus and malaria are spread by mosquitoes and fleas; it’s a problem worldwide especially in the developing world but also in wealthier countries as well.  To prevent the spread of Zika, malaria, and other diseases, insecticides and bed nets are currently often used.  “Vaccines are also under development … but few are approved for use.”

A recent study suggests another possible treatment–isoxazolines.  These drugs are currently approved for use in dogs to protect against fleas and ticks.

The study suggests that a single dose of 260 to 410 mg in humans could help protect against mosquito and sand fly bites for 50 to 90 days.

Isoxazolines are seen more as a rapid response option in areas where diseases like Zika and malaria are widespread.  Researchers estimate that giving doses of these drugs to a third of the people living in outbreak areas could prevent up to 97% of Zika infections and 70+% of new cases of malaria.

More research is needed to “prove the safety and effectiveness” of these drugs in humans.  The current use of isoxazolines in dogs, however, could shorten the drug development process.

Read the article (Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, July 2, 2018).

For more information about viruses, search Science Primary Literature (database).

Questions? Please let me know (engelk@grinnell.edu).

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