Anti-Ebola virus activity found in 80 approved drugs

Anti-Ebola virus activity has been found in approved drugs.
Anti-Ebola virus activity has been found in approved drugs. | Courtesy of

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, said Wednesday they have found antiviral activity against Ebola in 80 currently licensed drugs.

Drugs that have been licensed to treat a variety of conditions have received well-established safety profiles. These medications may need to be further inspected for appropriate safety with the Ebola virus. Researchers may test these drugs in accelerated clinical trials to determine the exact efficiency of the drugs in preventing or treating Ebola.

The researchers screened 2,600 drugs that have been approved for treating conditions ranging from breast cancer to hypertension. Out of these 2,600 drugs, 80 showed antiviral activity to fight the Zaire strain of Ebola.

The laboratory tests demonstrated antiviral activity in 80 licensed drugs even though there are currently no medications that are specifically licensed to prevent or treat Ebola. This discovery may save on drug development time and expenses, as scientists may no longer need to develop a vaccine or treatment for Ebola.

The Zaire strain of the Ebola virus caused more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak beginning in 2014.

Further details can be found in the June 3, 2015, issue of Science Translational Medicine journal.

Organizations in this Story

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) National Institutes of Health

Get notified the next time we write about any of these organizations