A study published in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases reports that scientists have possibly found a potential drug for treating the deadly Ebola virus. The report states that the drug was successful in treating 90 percent of mice exposed to Ebola.
Many researchers are currently working to develop either vaccines to prevent Ebola infections or drugs for the treatment of the disease. For this, they are investigating a number of existing compounds including malaria and flu drugs.
Rekha G Panchal from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease and her colleagues working on the vaccine were studying a class of small molecules called diazachrysenes. In laboratory tests they found these molecules to be non-toxic and effective against the most potent bacterial toxin, botulinum neurotoxin. They wanted to screen this family of compounds for possible anti Ebola drug candidates, and hence further narrowed down their search to only a handful of diazachrysenes.
When they tested this molecule on mice infected with the virus, they found that 70-90 percent survived the infection and did not show any obvious side effects. The drug is yet to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Since December 2013, Ebola has infected more than 25,000 people and claimed more than 10,000 lives. And this breakthrough has given hope that the means to fight this disease is not far in coming.