Some anticancer drugs can block Ebola virus replication

block ebola

Certain anticancer drugs may be effective against the deadly Ebola virus.

An Emory research team has found that the drug nilotinib (Tasigna), approved for the treatment of leukemia, can inhibit the ability of Ebola to replicate in the laboratory.

In previous research they found that nilotinib could be used to fight smallpox and tuberculosis. The drugs shut down human enzymes that some bacteria and viruses exploit. Nilotinib could reduce viral production by infected cells by up to 10,000 fold.

"We had suspected for a long time that many viruses might use the same enzymes at the point where they emerge from an infected cell," says Daniel Kalmen, an Emory pathologist, who teamed up on the study with Gary Nabel, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

One advantage to using drugs that affect such enzymes is that the virus is unlikely to be able to mutate and generate a drug-resistant strain, Kalmen says.

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