properties of the drug piperazine can be used to treat chikungunya.
is already in the market for use as deworming treatments against roundworm
of developing a new anti-viral agent, Piperazine can be used to reduce the
symptoms of chikungunya and treat the infection.
the viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes can now be treated with the drug
piperazine. Research team at the Indian
Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee have discovered the anti-viral properties of
Dr Shailly Tomar,
Biotechnology department, IIT said, "Chikungunya is gradually becoming a
major public health concern, with many affected by it every year. There is no
vaccine or antiviral drug available in the market for the cure of chikungunya
‘Piperazine commonly used for deworming was tested for its anti-viral properties against Chikungunya and was found to be effective in relieving the symptoms and in fighting the infection.’
Piperazine is already
available in the market and is commonly used in deworming treatments against
roundworm and pinworm. The drug was tested for its virus-fighting property and
is confirmed to treat chikungunya. The effect of the drug for chikungunya is
attributed to the binding property of capsid protein, present in the Chikungunya
"Our research has showed that piperazine, a drug existing in the market,
is successful in curbing the spread and replication of the Chikungunya virus in
a lab setting. We are currently testing the molecule on animals hope to take
this to clinical trials soon," said Tomar.
Using X-ray crystallographic
technique, computational biology and fluorescence techniques the drug was found
to be effective to fight viral infection.
Piperazine binds itself with a protein in
the virus. There is a hydrophobic pocket on the protein called ;alphavirus
capsid protein' to which the virus binds. This
pocket is crucial for the replication of the virus and its spread inside a
host. This inhibition of the pocket prevents the spread of the virus and can
help in treating the virus effectively using existing drugs.
What is Chikungunya? Chikungunya
also known as Buggy Creek Virus, is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito
bites. The Aedes aegypti
mosquito, a household
container breeder and aggressive daytime biter which is attracted to humans, is
the primary vector of chikungunya infection to humans.
The virus transmits from mosquitoes to
monkeys. Though other species can also be affected, monkeys are the main virus
reservoirs. There is no evidence till date, to indicate that there is a
person-to-person transmission of the virus causing chikungunya.
Symptoms of Chikungunya
Usually after the bite of the incubated mosquito, it
takes 1-12 days for incubation. The symptoms of
chikungunya include are categorized based on the severity of the disease.
- High fever
- Pain in the joints,
otherwise called arthralgia. The pain is usually severe in the morning and may
subsidize during the day.
- Swelling of joints
- Vomiting, nausea
- Rash: fever rash appears
in 50% of the cases within 5 days of the onset of the disease.
Chikungunya in Children
The symptoms vary in children ranging
from asymptomatic to severe disease. Children can have minor hemorrhagic
manifestations, edema in the lymph, swelling of eyelids and pharyngitis. Watery
stools, seizures, lethargy, irritability and excessive crying in addition to
Chikungunya virus can be
transmitted from the mother to the child and usually the transmission risk is
greater during birth.
The signs of infection
appeared around the fourth day and 90% of the infants recover.
Since the disease has
severe outcomes, it is vital to treat the infection before the symptoms become
severe. There are no specific drugs to cure chikungunya and the treatment given
is aimed to relieve the symptoms. There are no effective vaccines developed to
The treatment tested with Piperazine
focused on relieving the symptoms associated with the infection. Since
developing a new antiviral drug molecule can take over a decade the team used
an existing, approved drug and tested to see if it might inhibit or kill
- Dayaraj Cecilia, Current status of dengue and chikungunya in India, - (http://www.searo.who.int/publications/journals/seajph/seajphv3n1p22.pdf)
- Aggarwal M, Kaur R, Saha A, Mudgal R, Yadav R, Dash PK, Parida M, Kumar P, Tomar S. Evaluation of antiviral activity of piperazine against Chikungunya virus targeting hydrophobic pocket of alphavirus capsid protein, Antiviral Res. 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2017.08.015.