Could a teenager's science experiment be the answer to Zika virus? A tenth grade student from the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School in Davao, the southern region of the Philippines might be on to something.
Jerouen Paul Lumabao presented his experiment on a potential Zika virus cure at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona last May 12. His research's main focus was on dengue fever, but per the Society For Science, public health officials might also want to look into his findings for Zika.
ZIka Virus Cure Science Experiment
The teenager's hypothesis involves using common plants to kill mosquito eggs and larvae that carry infectious diseases. These are:
- Euphorbia hirt, a weed that is called tawa-tawa in the Philippines.
- Codiaeum variegatum, which could be found growing in San Francisco as a decorative plant.
- Cymbopogon citratus, also commonly known a lemon grass that is used for cooking.
These plants may either be planted in the garden or brewed to use as natural insecticide. But Jerouen Paul Lumabao further pushed his experiment to extract contents from the leaves of the plants.
He first let the leaves dry up and then later soaked these in alcohol. He allowed the alcohol to evaporate, from which natural oils formed. Using the oils, the budding scientist dropped small amounts into a water filled with mosquito eggs and larvae. The extracts from the lemon grass and tawa resulted in the unusual development of the mosquitoes, while the extracts from the San Francisco plant killed the samples within 24 hours.
Common plant could help fight Zika virushttps://t.co/zqh1Hd8PAu— Dr Neil Bodie (@neil_bodie) May 31, 2016
10th grader Jerouen Paul Lumabao's discovery
Zika Virus Cure Still Not Available
Jerouen Paul Lumabao came up with the idea since dengue fever is a growing health concern in his country. The disease develops from the bites of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which is also the known carrier of the Zika virus, per the Center for Disease Control.
At the moment, there are no vaccines nor cure for the Zika virus. The only recourse is to actively enforce preventive measures against bites, such as using bugs sprays, insect repellent and wearing protective clothing. Scientists are also attempting to release genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to control the development of mosquito eggs and larvae. Its approval is still under deliberation, per the Food and Drug Administration.
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