Malaria drug found effective against SARS

The anti-malaria drug chloroquine could be used to treat the SARS respiratory illness which killed hundreds of people last year, virologists at the Belgian Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) said on Friday.

A research team led by Professor Marc Van Ranst of KUL’s Rega Institute for Medical Research found that chloroquine “is active against the SARS coronavirus in laboratory experiments.”

“Chloroquine could be of great importance as preventive medication for people living in or traveling to SARS-affected areas, and as an antiviral treatment for SARS patients,” the research team said in a statement.

Nearly 800 people died from SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, after it emerged in southern China in late 2002. It infected 8,000 people in nearly 30 countries, devastating airline and tourism industries.

China, the hardest hit country, declared it had conquered the outbreak in July 2003, but has reported several new cases this year.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.