Researchers in the U.S. and Germany have developed a drug that may prevent vulnerable people exposed to measles from getting the disease.
They have successfully tested the drug against a virus similar to measles (canine distemper virus, or CDV) in ferrets, in which it is invariably fatal. Ferrets given the drug prophylactically and then infected intranasally with a lethal CDV dose had lower viremia and prolonged survival, they reported today in Science Translational Medicine (16 April).
Ferrets infected with the same dose of virus and treated at the onset of viremia showed low-grade viral loads, remained asymptomatic, and recovered from infection, whereas control animals succumbed to the disease.
Animals that recovered also mounted a robust immune response and were protected against rechallenge with a lethal CDV dose, they added.
The findings suggest the drug can not only treat measles in the early stages, but prevent disease in the social and household contacts of those with measles. Continue reading →