Ebola Cure May be Found in an Unlikely Place
New research on Ebola has led to some surprising discoveries. The deadly virus may be halted by two drugs already on the market. Clomiphene, an infertility medication, and Toremifene, which is used to treat advanced breast cancer, have both been found to thwart the Ebola virus from commandeering healthy cells in lab studies and clinical applications.
Scientists began by screening more than 2,000 medications against the incredibly lethal Ebola virus. The infertility and breast cancer drugs quickly stood out as promising choices. While all lab mice infected with Ebola died within a week of exposure, five of the ten mice treated with toremifene survived for a month. Clinical applications involving clomiphene did even better, with nine out of ten mice making it past the month-long observation.
Ebola has claimed over 2,300 lives throughout the world since it first emerged in Sudan and Zaire in 1976. And despite a truly frightening mortality rate, the sporadic appearances of the virus throughout the years have led scientists to believe that repurposing drugs already medically cleared to treat other conditions was the best course of action when looking for a treatment for Ebola.
When the Ebola virus invades a cell, it relays in a compartment of the cell known as the endosome. Both drugs worked in similar fashions. By keeping the virus trapped in the endosome, they essentially stopped it in its tracks. How the medications hold the virus hostage is still unclear, but after more in-depth testing, the plan is to dispense the medications to health care workers and patients during an outbreak.