Battling rotavirus will now be faster


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rotavirus kills 500 thousand people and produces 2 million di...


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rotavirus kills 500 thousand people and produces 2 million diarrhea hospitalizations a year, especially in developing countries.

In Colombia the Ministry of Health and Social Protection recently included the rotavirus vaccine in its vaccination plan for two-month old babies and reinforcement at four-months.

_Despite having a vaccine, this does not cure the symptoms such as diarrhea, but it attenuates them avoiding a high percentage of hospitalizations_, says UNal researcher Carlos Arturo Guerrero, who is also heading a scientific research project which has identified a series of natural compounds and over-the-counter drugs, that along with the vaccine helps stop the disease completely.

This is about three types of drugs which are capable of inhibiting almost 100% of the infection. The first group is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac, ibuprofen and aspirin usually abbreviated to NSAIDs, which reduce inflammation and lower fever and pain. The second group is drugs only used for diabetes. They activate a molecule in the cell known as PPARg, key for issues with this disease. The last group is anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, N-acetylcysteine and curcumin.

N-acetylcysteine is an amino acid used to treat cough in children and the elderly and also helps to eliminate mucus and in premature babies to expel the meconium (the first stools of an infant). Curcumin is a very popular cooking condiment, although in Colombia it is not as common, but it may be found at the supermarket.

What do these substances have in common? According to Professor Guerrero, they act on the cell molecule related to pain and inflammation known as NF-KB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells).

_We discovered that when the virus enters the cell it activates oxidative mechanisms which are also pro-inflammatory. These drugs inhibit NF-KB and production of oxidative substances. Therefore they battle inflammation_, says the expert.

These drugs do not act directly on the virus but rather on the cells: deactivating molecules which they use to replicate. It_s about strengthening the cell for it to protect itself.

Initially scientists infected cultivated cells and then injected the drugs. Then they carried out the procedure with rats (newborn and adults) and infected family members. _That all became radically better with treatment_, he said.

This is a contribution for all infected patients in the world to get well quickly with over-the-counter drugs with no contraindications.

Treatment

1. All children must be opportunely vaccinated against rotavirus.

2. Once the disease has been diagnosed, regardless of having been vaccinated, patients should be administered: 1. 200 mg of N-acetylcysteine every 8-hours, dissolved in water (60 mg/kg/day). If the child is older than 2 years of age: 600 mg every 8 hours. 2. 500 mg of vitamin C, every 8 hours.

3. If the child is older than 6 months and has fever and general malaise, administer ibuprofen (pediatric presentation) every 8 hours. Curcumin may also be added to foods to taste, it is used in a similar manner as food color or achiote seed.

Agencia de Noticias UNAL

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