Researchers Identify Potential Treatment for Common Disease

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. rampant / ˈræm pənt / (adj) – spreading quickly in a manner that is difficult to manage or control

    The disease is rampant in overcrowded areas.

  2. discharge / ˈdɪs tʃɑrdʒ / (n) – a liquid that comes out of a part of the body, such as the nose or ears

    The doctor took samples of the watery discharge from the patient’s eyes.

  3. rash / ræʃ / (n) – a group of red spots on a person's skin

    He has a rash on his arms and legs because of his allergies.

  4. blister / ˈblɪs tər / (n) – a small bubble on the skin that contains liquid and is usually painful

    I got blisters after wearing my new shoes all day.

  5. multiply / ˈmʌl təˌplaɪ / (v) – to grow in large numbers or quantities

    Some types of bacteria quickly multiply in wet environments.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Should the scientists speed up their study so that the new treatment can be released soon? Why or why not?
• Do you agree with the idea of testing the potential treatment on animals? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think all common diseases should have vaccines? Why or why not?
• Should all vaccines be free? Why or why not?