The head of the New South Wales SARS task force says new international research shows a readily available drug could combat the spread of the deadly virus.
The head of the New South Wales SARS task force says new international research shows a readily available drug could combat the spread of the deadly virus.Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) infected about 8,000 people last year.The World Health Organisation is predicting a recurrence during this year’s flu season.Hong Kong and Dutch researchers used Interferon-alpha on monkeys before and after exposure to SARS. The drug, normally used against Hepatitis C, was most effective as a preventative, to slow the spread of the virus. SARS task force chair Professor Ron Penny says a key finding is in how Interferon-alpha worked in the deadly phase of SARS.”It’s shown what cells in the lung … are likely to be affected by the SARS virus,” Professor Penny said.”I think that just may throw up a number of strategies for testing a range of other drugs.”Professor Penny says it is likely future effective human treatments will be a drug combination.(Source: ABC Health News Online, Feb 2004)