You may consider measles as a quite unimportant, childhood illness that already has a vaccine. But in those parts of the world and in the unvaccinated communities, measles is a fatal disease even as we speak. Rigorous research has been conducted over the years on trying to find the best solutions of saving peoples’ lives when affected by measles, but it was only recently when specialists made an important breakthrough: there is an experimental new measles fighting pill that passes animal testing with flying colors. Let’s see what all this is about.
The Science Translational Medicine released the findings coming from a team of researchers from Georgia State University who worked in collaboration with their colleagues from Emory Institute for Drug Discovery and the Paul-Ehrlich Institute in Germany and the results are quite impressive. According to the doctors involved in the project and cited by Reuters last week,
the drug was developed specifically for measles and it works by interfering with the ability of the virus to make copies of itself.
But how about the animal testing? Unfortunately, one cannot test the human measles virus on animals, because there is no model that replicates human measles in animals, so instead of it, they used canine distemper virus, (a virus closely related to measles). The ferrets they were experimenting on
survived the normally fatal infection and levels of the virus were sharply reduced and all of the animals remained disease-free and developed immunity to the virus.
Is this going to be tested on humans?
There is still a long science road to travel until large human testing trial, as it first has to be tested on monkeys and then on small populations of healthy people to check for side – effects, and only then, large subject pools will make the focus of further investigations. However, so far, so good, as the results seem promising. The main goal of such new measles fighting pill is to heal the infected patient and save its life, while the experimental drug’s effects seem to also
contribute to closing measles immunity gaps in a population
But, just as the researchers said, for a while now, the vaccination is still the best and wisest decision to take when it comes to measles, as this pill’s mass production and availability features are very far from becoming a reality. While developed countries are vaccinating against measles, the undeveloped ones are still struggling with mass infections and death. However, in the last years, even developed countries seem to have a problem with vaccination and consider it a danger – especially since some links with autism have been making the headlines, but until there will be a pill to fight measles, the doctors are stuck to their pro – vaccination opinion.