Although it is believed that there is no WNV cure yet, Dr. John Lieberman from the St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center thinks otherwise.
Dr. Lieberman is an infectious disease expert who saved an 80-year-old woman after she had been bitten by a disease-carrying mosquito. It is worth mentioning that the WNV causes a mild infection, but in some cases, the infection attacks the brain causing violent symptoms similar to meningitis.
According to the current statistics, since 1999, the West Nile Virus has infected around 13,000 people and resulted in the death of over 500. However, Dr. Lieberman decided to give the senior woman a drug which is commonly used to deal with high blood pressure.
As it turned out, she partially recovered in just 24 hours. Even if people have recovered before from WNV complications, this process takes a lot of time. That is why Dr. Lieberman claims the blood-pressure treatment played a crucial role in saving the senior patient’s life.
He has further added that her recovery is very unusual and something that he has never seen before although he has treated more than 80 patients suffering from WNV. However, this therapeutic approach has been used first by Dr. David Moskowitz, executive and chief medical officer at GenoMed in Saint Louis.
According to him, WN complications are not caused by the virus, but because the patient’s immune system overreacts, thus leading to severe inflammation.
This process can be prevented by using a specific type of blood-pressure medications known as sartans. These drugs are Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Avapro (irbesartan), Novartis’ Diovan (valsartan), and Merck’s Cozaar (losartan) just to name a few.
Sartans act by blocking the angiotensin II protein, which constricts blood vessels, while it also stimulates inflammation. Even if this method has not been tested in an official clinical trial, five more patients from Omaha, recovered after receiving sartans medications.
Moskowitz stresses that this treatment can be used to deal with SARS as well, a virus that has affected over 8,000 people since last winter and killed around 750. No patient suffering from SARS has been treated with sartans yet, but Moskowitz believes that these drugs might work because SARS manifests like WNV by leading to an immune system’s overreaction.
However, Moskowitz says that the CDC and WHO haven’t returned any of his calls, meaning that they are probably not interested in what he has to say, although the National Institutes of Health acknowledges his efforts in treating the WNV.
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