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Techniques to Prevent Zika

Robert Hindes MD

After 12 years at Danbury Hospital and 10 years at Bristol Myers Squibb in Connecticut, Robert Hindes, MD, continued his work leading innovative clinical trials at Pharmasset, Inc in New Jersey. Having completed a fellowship in infectious disease at Harvard Medical School, Robert Hindes, MD, currently serves as the chief medical officer of Trek Therapeutics, a company whose portfolio includes the antiviral drug VX-497.

Acquired from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, VX-497 is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug that has applications against the Ebola, Lassa, Junin, and Zika viruses. Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that can be especially harmful for pregnant women and unborn babies. The virus can also be spread by sexual activity regardless of whether symptoms are present.

To prevent Zika, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals take steps to protect against mosquito bites. In addition to minimizing skin exposure with clothing, individuals can apply permethrin or an insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes. To be effective, repellents should include 2-undecanone, DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or lemon eucalyptus oil. Other recommendations include the use of mosquito screens and staying indoors when possible in areas affected by Zika.
Xiao Tong, PhD, VP of Research and Regulatory Affairs at Trek, recently published an article in Antiviral Research titled Merimepodib [VX-497], an IMPDH inhibitor, suppresses replication of Zika virus and other emerging viral pathogens. Trek is continuing to advance its pipeline of antiviral drugs against Zika and other viruses, including norovirus and hepatitis B.

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