MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Scientists in U.K. seek ways to target existing drugs for anti-viral treatment

Researchers from the University of Liverpool and Public Health England recently conducted a study to find new ways to identify drugs that may help treat Ebola virus.

"This study shows how existing therapeutics can be identified and potentially repurposed for anti-viral therapy," Julian Hiscox, the chairman in Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infection and Global Health and a leader in the study, said, according to Science Daily. "The technique of using existing and tested drugs for a different purpose can save considerable time and ultimately, lives."

The team examined proteins critical to the Ebola infection process and discovered whether existing drugs could block a protein's function. One drug shown to be effective was ouabain, which is used to treat heart disease and blocks the replication of the virus in treated cells.

"The philosophy of transiently targeting the function of host cell proteins that are critical for virus infection holds great promise not only for increasing the potential arsenal of drugs against Ebola but other viruses as well," Hiscox said.

The full paper-published in the Journal of Proteome Research-is available here.