Chloroquine, an endocytosis blocking agent, inhibits zika virus infection in different cell models

Rodrigo Delvecchio, Luiza M. Higa, Paula Pezzuto, Ana Luiza Valadão, Patrícia P. Garcez, Fábio L. Monteiro, Erick C. Loiola, André A. Dias, Fábio J.M. Silva, Matthew T. Aliota, Elizabeth A. Caine, Jorge E. Osorio, Maria Bellio, David H. O’Connor, Stevens Rehen, Renato Santana De Aguiar, Andrea Savarino, Loraine Campanati, Amilcar Tanuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in utero might lead to microcephaly and other congenital defects. Since no specific therapy is available thus far, there is an urgent need for the discovery of agents capable of inhibiting its viral replication and deleterious effects. Chloroquine is widely used as an antimalarial drug, anti-inflammatory agent, and it also shows antiviral activity against several viruses. Here we show that chloroquine exhibits antiviral activity against ZIKV in Vero cells, human brain microvascular endothelial cells, human neural stem cells, and mouse neurospheres. We demonstrate that chloroquine reduces the number of ZIKV-infected cells in vitro, and inhibits virus production and cell death promoted by ZIKV infection without cytotoxic effects. In addition, chloroquine treatment partially reveres morphological changes induced by ZIKV infection in mouse neurospheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antiviral
  • Chloroquine
  • Microcephaly
  • Neural stem cell
  • Zika virus


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