The Zika virus outbreak in Brazil was declared by WHO to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern as evidence came to light that infection can cause birth defects as well as neurological problems. Whilst public health measures have contained the epidemic there remains no specific treatment for the virus available and treatment options remain limited. Researchers at the Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM) led by Dr Horacio Pérez Sánchez have used computer simulations to investigate whether existing drugs used for other diseases may be repurposed to offer a solution to this problem. Their simulations pointed to two drugs whose original purposes were to treat HIV and MRSA (Ritonavir and Novobiocin) that were likely candidates for preventing the function of the Zika virus protease. The activity of the antimocrobial was validated in mouse models. Their work not only provides a promising lead that could lead to an effective treatment of Zika but also a drug discovery platform to aid the search for novel enzyme inhibitors of the virus.

You can view their paper here