Possible Cure for West Nile Could Be Coming From West Texas Hospital

Josh Navarro
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS- With the West Nile epidemic spreading some of you have asked us, is there a cure? Right now the answer is no but there is hope.

We did some digging and discovered that researchers working just four hours west of here may have an answer.

NewsWest 9 talked to a doctor at Texas Tech in El Paso who says their inching closer in creating a weapon to eliminate the West Nile virus in humans.

NewsWest 9 has reported that there is no treatment or vaccine for this disease, but a team of scientists at Texas Tech Paul Foster School of Medicine in El Paso say there could be light at the end of tunnel.

"We are trying to use a new technology, autoimmune interference, to double up a type of strand to treat west Nile infection," Doctor Manjunath Swamy said.

The process uses saRNA, which are molecules that can target a certain part of DNA replication, and tell the DNA not to recreate that part. This means that the West Nile infected strands wouldn't replicate, allowing the disease to die out with the old cells.

"This essential strand uses small double stranded RNA's that can go and specifically attack the vital genome," Swamy said.

He says the research is currently being tested in mice and has been successful but it'll be a while before it goes to human clinical trials. The cure is not a preventative measure but once you have the disease, their medicine will target and completely kill the West Nile Virus.

He also hopes the treatment will gain FDA approval and treat West Nile outbreaks. If everything goes as planned, he's expecting the treatment to be available within the next eight to ten years.