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An Australian plant that kills Zika virus, also kills dengue too

Photo: Zika-busting Aussie plant kills dengue too
A native Australian plant that kills the Zika virus has also been shown to kill all four strains of the dengue virus.

A mystery plant that can kill the Zika virus also kills all four strains of the virus that causes dengue fever, Queensland researchers have found.

Researchers won't yet name the native Australian plant - dubbing it "species 8473" - but hope it will be a game-changer in the fight against the diseases the mosquito-borne viruses cause.

"We know the plant extract kills dengue and the next step is to identify what the effective compound in that extract actually is," QUT researcher Dr Trudi Collet said in a statement on Friday.
"Our aim regarding dengue is to eventually make an ingestible treatment from it and a preventative medication, similar to anti-malaria medication."

Dr Collet said she planned to publish the research and make the plant species name public, after the compounds had been identified and provisional patents obtained.

Currently, no treatment exists for dengue fever, which can in severe cases lead to death.

Dr Collet said approximately 2.5 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk of the disease.

"Although dengue is not common in Australia, it is still a significant public health concern," she said.

"Northern Queensland, in particular, is vulnerable to outbreaks of dengue viruses."

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