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Shark-Derived Drug May Treat Viruses

Squalamine Has New Antiviral Properties, Researchers Say

Squalamine Changes Cell’s Electrical Charge continued...

“This approach might be especially useful for viral diseases characterized by ongoing viral replication like HIV and Hepatitis C,” he says. “A strategy like this could prove very interesting.”

But he questions whether a treatment that changes the electrical balance of cells would prove safe for long-term use.

Zasloff says the drug has a proven safety profile and there were few side effects reported in the earlier clinical trials.

“Electrical balance is a vital aspect of cell biology,” Hirsch says. “We are programmed at a basic level to maintain a gradient of electric charge over our cell membranes. I am surprised that there wasn’t toxicity with this.”

The research was funded with grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other public sources.

Zasloff, who holds the patent on the technology used in the study, says he is seeking private funding to study squalamine in humans.

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