With the West Nile virus still emerging as a serious threat in any US states today, more and more people are getting concerned of when effective treatments may be made available to address the ongoing threat. Unfortunately, doctors currently have no way of treating the West Nile virus effectively. A biologist has recently suggested that the West Nile virus may be treated using an antibiotic.
Biologist Terry Fredeking suggests that West Nile virus may possibly be treated effectively using an antibiotic that has been around for decades. Fredeking believes that the West Nile virus may be treated by an antibiotic called doxycycline, which has already been around for about four decades. It has been approved for use on a wide range of diseases, but not for the West Nile virus for an obvious lack of any study in the case. Fredeking’s company Antibody Systems of Hurst have funded a 3-year study looking into the effects of doxycycline on dengue fever. Dengue fever acts very similar to the West Nile virus. This gave the biologist a valid argument that doxycycline may also have a positive effect in treating West Nile virus infections.
Both dengue fever and West Nile virus are known to produce a condition known as cytokine storm, according to Fredeking. It causes the body’s immune system to overproduce cytokines, messengers that tell the immune system how to fight a particular infection. In a cytokine storm, overproduction of cytokines causes the body to produce lesser quality white blood cells and antibodies, which may further impact certain diseases. Doxycycline causes the immune system to ignore the order to overproduce, thereby making it able to have a better immune system. The body’s own immune system will help clear the virus while the aid antibiotic can help bring it down to normal levels.
Fredeking and his team based their assumption of the effects of doxycycline on the West Nile virus by the results that came out of their dengue fever study. The results showed that the death rate caused by the disease was halved. 100 out of the 200 dengue fever patients were given doxycycline. Twenty patients of those who didn’t take doxycycline died while only ten of those who did take the antibiotic died. This represents around a 50 percent survival rate for those who had dengue fever and who are taking doxycycline.
The researchers believe that the same effect can be seen when the antibiotic is used to treat West Nile virus infections. But this will still remain to be seen as it would take a study in order to evaluate and shed some light as to what effects doxycycline may have on the West Nile virus. Unfortunately, no study is yet underway to look into this matter.