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Fiocruz discovers a substance capable of blocking zika


Fabíola Tavares (Fiocruz Pernambuco)


Fiocruz scientists in Pernambuco have discovered a substance capable of blocking the production of zika virus in epithelial and neural cells. The finding was published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and shows antiviral activity of the substance 6-methyl mercaptopurine riboside (6MMPr) against the zika virus type circulating in Brazil.

The cells are marked in blue color, and infected cells are marked in green color. Observe the reduction of infected cells in both while increasing the dose of 6MMPr

The investigator Lindomar Pena, who coordinates the study, explained how in vitro tests occurred. Using epithelial and neural cells in all trials, scientists have introduced 6MMPr, experimenting different times and dosages. The result was the decrease in the production of zika virus in more than 99% in both cell lines. The study also found that 6MMPr proved to be least toxic to neural cells, what is a good indication for future treatments of infections in the nervous system.

"The development of safe and effective antiviral drugs is of great urgency and importance due to the neurologic manifestations associated with the zika virus and birth defects caused by it", says the investigator.

Mock means normal cells; control are cells infected with the zika virus (white dots)

As the 6MMPr has shown to be a promising antiviral candidate against zika virus, the research now goes for an additional in vivo assessment. The study, which was conducted for 1 year, received financial resources from CNPq and Facepe.

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