Friday, February 12, 2016

Dengue- Thinking Outside the Box

There is plenty of dengue, a mosquito borne viral illness, in Honduras, where we have our VCU Global Health and Health Disparities program clinical and public health project. To date, there is neither a vaccine nor an antiviral to treat dengue. For the treatment of dengue, some have thought outside the box. Check out this article- one in which lovastatin ( a cholesterol lowering agent) is used to treat dengue in a randomized, double-blind, placebo -controlled trial.

Dengue results in an inflammatory processes that affects vascular endothelium. Statins such as lovastatin decrease inflammation and improve endothelial function yet are not directly anti-viral. In this study lovastatin was safe and well tolerated but no benefit was observed on any of the clinical manifestations or on dengue viremia. 

Lovastatin is not salvation for the management of dengue. The study may not have been adequately powered  to detect a difference between lovastatin and a placebo. 

Regardless, the concept was cool, treatment with lovastatin caused no observable harm and it was subjected to empirical assessment.