Study: Mosquitoes could aid in treatments of life-threatening viruses, possibly COVID-19

Bite by an Aedes mosquito. This species can transmit diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. Credit: NIAID (Photo by: IMAGE POINT FR/NIH/NIAID/BSIP //Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A new study revealed that a protein found in mosquitoes could help in treatments in some life-threatening viruses like West Nile and Zika and possibly COVID-19.

The National Institutes of Health released its report Wednesday and said the findings could lead to help for millions of affected people worldwide.

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Scientists said the mosquito protein AEG12 weakens certain viruses by breaking down its protective covering. However, it is ineffective against other viruses that aren’t enveloped in a protective covering such as pink eye and bladder infections.

Researchers added that the protein could be effective against fighting the coronavirus, but more research and bioengineering are needed.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only fully approved Remdesivir, an antiviral agent, for COVID-19 treatment. It is recommended for patients in a hospital who require supplemental oxygen. In addition, the agency has granted emergency use authorization for nine other COVID-19 treatments. The agency said more than 430 COVID-19 treatment trials are underway, and nearly 600 drugs are currently in the development and planning stages.