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Researchers have identified a treatment that can potentially cure enterovirus 71, a common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD).
The disease is rampant among young children in Southeast Asia. It can be spread through saliva, nose or throat discharge, or contact with contaminated objects and surfaces. Its signs include rashes and blisters, while some of its symptoms are fever, fatigue, sore throat, and appetite loss. Most infected people usually get better after 7 to 10 days. However, serious cases can lead to brain inflammation, paralysis, and even death.
Currently, there is still no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medication or vaccine for enterovirus 71.
Viruses like enterovirus 71 spread in the body by multiplying and infecting nearby cells. According to the scientists, the new treatment changes the shape of such viruses, stopping them from affecting other cells and multiplying. In one laboratory experiment, the scientists were able to successfully stop the virus from growing inside human cell samples.
Despite the experiment’s promising results, the scientists said that it may still take some time for the treatment to become commercially available. They first need to make sure that it is safe and effective through animal trials before testing it on humans. In the meantime, they are looking at whether a similar treatment could be used for other viruses, including the one that causes Covid-19.