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New York: An antidepressant and a heart drug approved for use in humans may also help treat the deadly Ebola disease, a new study in mice suggests.
Researchers screened about 2,600 compounds for their ability to hinder Ebola’s activity, and identified 30 drugs that were effective against the virus in a lab dish.
Two of the drugs – the antidepressant sertraline and a heart drug called bepridil – appeared particularly promising for their action against Ebola.
The drugs appear to inhibit Ebola infection by preventing the genetic material of the virus from getting inside the host’s cells.
The drug duo was able to protect against Ebola in mice infected with the disease.
During experiments, 70 per cent of mice treated with sertraline and 100 per cent of mice treated with bepridil, survived an Ebola infection.
On the other hand, all the mice that were not treated died from Ebola in about a week, ‘Live Science’ reported.
“During an outbreak, when we have little time to develop a new drug, repurposing existing drugs can allow researchers to respond quickly,” said study co-author Gene Olinger, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in US.
Because the two drugs are already approved for use in people, they have the potential to be rapidly advanced to testing in Ebola patients, researchers said.
However, researchers caution that because these drugs were tested only in lab dishes and in mice, it’s too soon to know how effective they would be in Ebola patients.
The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.