Researchers Prove Drug Efficacy Against Chikungunya Fever

Researchers at Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro, have proved the efficacy of the drug Sofosbuvir against Chikungunya fever. The study, which has just been published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, was coordinated by Thiago Moreno, a Carioca researcher.

Tests were performed with Sofosbuvir in mice infected with the Chikungunya virus, aiming at ascertaining whether the treatment would be effective in living beings. According to the researcher, the study is the first to prove, in living cells, that Sofosbuvir prevents the virus from replicating.

According to the research, the drug results were three times more selective in preventing the Chikungunya virus from reproducing than ribavirin -- used to relieve joint pain caused by the disease.

For Moreno, the main result was that they prevented inflamed cells from multiplying. As there is no vaccine or specific treatment for Chikungunya fever, the researcher says, patients with the disease end up receiving palliative treatment to alleviate joint pain. 

“Research is important so that the drug is, in the near future, a therapeutic option to treat the disease. Sofosbuvir has had positive and superior results when compared to ribavirin in several comparative laboratory tests, with an even better, more effective history against Chikungunya virus replication, and is also 25% less toxic to the body cells,” he said.

The research data showed that Sofosbuvir, apart from treating Chikungunya fever, may also treat other diseases which are clinically important and susceptible to treatment with the drug. 

“The study also shows that using Sofosbuvir may be good for treating diseases caused by other types of virus, in addition to that which causes hepatitis C. It is a safer, more effective antiviral than ribavirin, for example, in several cases,” Moreno added.