June 20, 2013
Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine say a class of drugs already approved by the FDA could be used to help inhibit the deadly, incurable Ebola virus.
Clomiphene, which is used to treat infertility, and toremifene, used to treat breast cancer, can effectively block the Ebola virus in mice. The drugs appear to prevent the virus from delivering its genetic information into cells in the body.
Ebola currently has a fatality rate of 90-percent, so scientists say this is a crucial first step against the virus.
"These compounds should serve as leads for developing inhibitors that could really be used in natural outbreaks of Ebola virus, for people studying the virus in a research facility, or God forbid, if there was any kind of bio threat involved," said Judith White, a professor of cell biology.
UVa worked with the Zalicus Pharmaceutical Company and the Army Medical Research Institute, which handled the work involving live viruses.