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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Zika Virus: Overview and Laboratory Testing. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Treatment

Treatment of Zika Virus Infection
Currently, there is no specific medicine for the treatment of a Zika virus infection nor is there a vaccine to prevent the infection. Instead, treatment usually involves controlling and treating the symptoms of the infection by doing the following:
  • Obtain plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain.
  • Reframe from taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • If taking any medication for another medical condition, consult with your physician or healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

Potential Drugs for Zika Virus Infection
At this time, there are approximately 6,000 drugs being studied or undergoing clinical trials as potential therapies for the Zika virus infection. Among the medicines being investigated are drugs to help prevent the neurological disorders associated with the infection including microcephaly. Several compounds that suppress the virus replication have been studied including a long-used treatment for worm infections. Among the many drugs being tested, the following three compounds hold promise.
  • Niclosamide - This is a drug already on the market as a treatment for tapeworm. Researchers have found that the drug also has antiviral properties that inhibit the Zika virus from replicating.
  • PHA-690509 - This antiviral compound is presently undergoing studies. PHA-690509 is known as a CDK inhibitor and has been found to reduce neuronal cell death caused by the Zika virus infection. This medication is currently in development and works by interfering with gene expression.
  • Emricasan - This drug has been found to inhibit a natural process that causes programmed cell death. It does not directly act against the Zika virus, but protects the brain cells of developing fetuses against viral damage.
Although these drugs may hold promise for treating Zika virus infections, none of them have yet to be approved for specific treatment of the infection. Moreover, it is possible that a combination of these drugs as well as others may be needed to treat the Zika virus infection and to help prevent neurological disorders possibly associated with the infection.