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Zapping Zika #5: Clinical trials of IFITM3-based therapies?

As the Zika virus continues to pose a global health threat, research is underway to develop potential vaccines and treatments. In June 2016, a research team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School published findings that interferon-inducible transmembrane proteins (IFITMs), small proteins found in the human body, can significantly block infection by the Zika virus.

In particular, the team identified the protein IFITM3, already known to play an important role in the human immune system, as an early front line defender against Zika. IFITM3, found in nearly all human cells, bolsters the cell membrane against viral penetration. The study found that IFITM3 levels in test cells were inversely correlated with the rate of infection by Zika. The team’s next step will be to test the susceptibility of IFITM3-deficient mice to Zika infection, with the hope of eventually developing an anti-viral therapy based on IFITM3 that can be used to fight the Zika outbreak.

Will a clinical trial be entered into the U.S. database with a start date prior to September 1, 2017, to test an IFITM3-based therapy to treat or protect against the Zika virus in humans?


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