There are 53 already approved drugs, including cancer drugs, antihistamines and antibiotics that may block the Ebola virus from entering human cells, according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Microtubule inhibitors used to treat cancer were found to be the most effective in hindering infection by an Ebola virus.
Lead author Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre said, "There was an urgent need to rapidly develop useful treatments against Ebola infection, and their study results argue that repurposing existing drugs might be among the fastest ways to achieve this. Many of the compounds identified in this study promise to become lead compounds in near-future drug development efforts studies targeting this virus."
The estimated mortality rate of the current Ebola outbreak is nearly 70 percent with no approved treatment for Ebola virus infection yet. Antibody-based therapy (e.g. ZMapp) proven effective in animal studies has not been confirmed in clinical trials yet. It is also expensive to make and its supply is insufficient. Ebola vaccine trials are also going on.
The study is published in the Nature Press journal 'Emerging Microbes and Infections'.