The Zika virus was first found in humans after World War II. Even though doctors have known about Zika for years, they have only recently found that this disease can cause birth defects. According to Medical News Today, one birth defect is called, microcephaly, causes babies to have small heads and brains.
But there may be hope. Nature Medicine recently published an article explaining that a cure is likely to be found soon. Doctors are testing current medications to see if they could also serve as the cure for the Zika virus. A professor at Florida State, Hengli Tang, explains the recent success they found by conducting this type of research.
She states in a Medical News Today article, "We focused on compounds that have the shortest path to clinical use. This is a first step toward a therapeutic that can stop the transmission of the disease."
One compound researchers found that serves as a cure for Zika also treats tapeworms. However, this drug will have to go under more testing before doctors can prescribe it to Zika patients.
As of now, researchers are putting thousands of drugs through "repurposing screens." Which means they are testing current drugs to see if they can find a cure rather than creating a new one.
Hongjun Song, a John Hopkins University professor, explains that creating a new drug could take up to ten years, and with the number of Zika patients slowly rising in America, it is critical to find a cure fast.
In America, 584 pregnant women have been affected by the virus and 42 cases have been found in Florida.
Doctors are working hard to find a cure for Zika before anyone else is harmed.