Repurposing drugs to fight Ebola

2014

Challenge

In 2014, a sudden outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa led to the urgent need to identify potential drugs that could stop or treat the deadly virus quickly, to save lives and prevent wider spread of the epidemic.

Advance

IRP scientists designed and executed a drug repurposing screen to identify possible treatments for Ebola infection among known FDA-approved and investigational molecules. Their efforts led to the identification of 53 compounds that can block Ebola virus entry into cells and may have the potential to prevent or treat the disease.

Impact

There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments for Ebola, and patients must rely on basic interventions such as IV fluids and oxygen to increase their chances of survival. The IRP team’s findings provided the research and medical community with an important resource of 53 compounds with the potential to accelerate the development of effective anti-Ebola therapies and vaccines.

Publications

Kouznetsova J, Sun W, Martínez-Romero C, Tawa G, Shinn P, Chen CZ, Schimmer A, Sanderson P, McKew JC, Zheng W, García-Sastre A. (2014). Identification of 53 compounds that block Ebola virus-like particle entry via a repurposing screen of approved drugs. Emerg Microbes Infect. 3(12): e84.