A potential drug to treat an incurable mosquito-borne virus has been developed and tested in mice, with plans to start clinical trials for the first time.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted via mosquito bites that has spread from Africa and Asia to many parts of the world. One of its key symptoms is joint pain, which can often be severe and last months or even years.
US research led by Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) has developed an experimental drug for Chikungunya that, when tested in mice, reduced the amount of virus by up to 1000 times and stopped joint pain.
The team are currently working to make the drug into a pill that can be taken orally, and hope to start a clinical trial to evaluate the drug’s safety and effectiveness in people by 2027.
Professor Daniel Streblow, at OHSU said: “We have the potential to develop an antiviral that could be used to treat millions of people during large Chikungunya outbreaks and prevent long-term disease in people who are persistently affected by this debilitating disease.”