Researchers recently found that generic medications that are used to manage heart disease patients may also significantly strengthen patients’ immune systems against Ebola and similar life-threatening diseases.
These results, which were published in mBio, the American Society for Microbiology’s online open-access journal, show that the heart medications could treat Ebola from a different angle.
Other treatments that are current candidates for Ebola fight the virus, angiotensin receptor blockers and statins. Angiotensin receptor blockers are usually targeted to determine the host response in heart diseases. Heart medications restore and solidify the strength and integrity of the endothelial cells that line the body’s blood vessels. This is helpful, as endothelial cell dysfunction causes mineral and fluid loss and is a key feature of Ebola in human patients.
"This approach to Ebola treatment has two advantages," David S. Fedson, a retired professor of medicine at the University of Virginia and expert on influenza and pneumococcal vaccination, said. "First, it uses inexpensive generic drugs that are widely available in any country with a basic health care system, and most physicians who treat patients with cardiovascular diseases are familiar with these medications. Second, because this strategy targets the host response to infection, these drugs might be used to treat patients with any form of acute infectious disease in which a failure to overcome endothelial dysfunction could lead to multi-organ failure and death."