Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles discovered that Prozac appears to have antiviral properties, against human enteroviruses (a group of more than 60 viruses that includes poliovirus)
Enteroviruses cause an estimated 15 million infections every year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. At present, there is no treatment for enterovirus infections. Physicians offer supportive care, but the infection can only be monitored and allowed to run it’s course.
In the search for an effective antiviral vaccine, UCLA researchers used a method that would allow scientists to test tens of thousands of chemical compounds in a single day with the help of robotics. This method is called HTS (high throughput screening). UCLA researchers recruited the scientific director of UCLA’s Molecular Screening Shared Resource (MSSR), Dr. Robert Damoiseaux, who specializes in HTS. They discovered several compounds that restrain enterovirus production.
Prozac (Fluoxetine) was found to interfere with the growth and replication of coxsackieviruses, which is a prominent subtype of enteroviruses. Although, taking Prozac may not be the best way to clear a viral infection.
Prozac is linked to an increased risk of internal bleeding, as are other enteroviruses. Hemorrhaging could worsen infection.
Paul Krogstad, M.D., professor of molecular and medical pharmacology said, “We do not yet understand the mechanism of action, and we do not yet have any proof of antiviral effectiveness in humans or animals.”