Shingles, a painful condition of blistering rash that affects people who have had chicken pox as children can be treated effectively by L-BHDA, a new compound developed by US researchers.
Chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus which can hide in the nerves and emerge much later in life, even when a person is over 60 years old, as painful blisters on one side of the body. There is no specific treatment, although there are anti-viral drugs to reduce the duration and pain of shingles, and a variety of pain medications and topical creams to relieve long-term pain. But these are effective only to some degree. The condition affects 30 per cent of old people in America.
The researchers, medicinal chemist and distinguished professor Chung Chu at the University of Georgia and Yung-Chi (Tommy) Cheng of Yale University, state that L-BHDA deals with shingles very effectively. "We need new options for medications with increased potency and specificity that can treat the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), including strains that may be resistant to existing drugs. L-BHDA has the potential to be more effective than existing agents."