Prozac May Be Able to Kill Some Viruses | Enteroviruses
A viral infection got you depressed? Maybe Prozac can help.
Researchers atِ the University ofِ California, Los Angeles, haveِ discovered anِ unexpected property ofِ fluoxetine, theِ antidepressant drug marketed asِ Prozac.
In laboratory tests onِ cell cultures, theِ drug appears toِ haveِ antiviral properties, particularlyِ againstِ human enteroviruses, a genus ofِ potential killers thatِ includes poliovirus.
While immunization hasِ kept poliovirus inِ check inِ most countries, otherِ enteroviruses remain a primary causeِ of certainِ types ofِ meningitis, encephalitis, conjunctivitis, andِ a host ofِ other diseases.
Chink in virus armor
But similar toِ rhinovirus, theِ causeِ of theِ common cold, enteroviruses haveِ so muchِ genetic variety thatِ itِ would beِ too difficult toِ create a vaccine toِ prevent theirِ infection.
Tiny & Nasty: Images ofِ Things That Make Us Sick] So, inِ search forِ antiviral properties, theِ UCLA researchers, led byِ Paul Krogstad, a professor ofِ molecular andِ medical pharmacology, turned toِ theِ fire power ofِ high-throughput screening (HTS), a method thatِ enables researchers toِ test tens ofِ thousands ofِ chemical compounds inِ a single day usingِ robotics.
For theseِ screens, theِ group enlisted Robert Damoiseaux, theِ scientific director ofِ UCLA’s Molecular Screening Shared Resource (MSSR), whoِ specializes inِ HTS.
Hold off on the pills
While allِ of thisِ seemsِ straightforward, popping Prozac isn’tِ such a wise idea toِ clear yourِ viral infection.
We doِ not yetِ understand theِ mechanism ofِ action, andِ we doِ not yetِ haveِ anyِ proof ofِ antiviral effectiveness inِ humans orِ animals, Krogstad said.
And that’sِ somethingِ to beِ hopeful about.