The Ebola epidemic that took African countries by storm and caused quite a lot of panic even in developed countries, including USA, might have efficient drugs to treat it readily available in pharmacies all over the world.
While many research centers were going out of their way to come up with some miracle drug for the hemorrhaging fever caused by Ebola and its close cousin the Marburg virus, a team created by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the University of Virginia and Horizon Discovery Inc. of Cambridge, took a completely different approach in tackling the disease.
They began testing drugs which were already on the market and which could be proven to be useful in treating Ebola. They started out with over 2,500 FDA approved compounds which were applied to different strands of the Ebola virus.
If the virus was not altered by the drug used, then it would shine bright green under ultraviolet light, but if the drug being tested managed to dull out the green color by at least 40% and preserve the uninfected cells healthy, then it meant that it inhibited the virus and proceeded to the next stage of the study.
From the 2,500 compounds, only 171 passed the first stage and out of these 177 substances, only 30 were selected to be tested further on human kidney and liver cells. 25 of the selected substances were able to block the Ebola virus from infecting the cells with a staggering 90% protection percentage.
To further prove how effective the drugs are, scientists selected the most successful eight substances and proceeded to the next stage of the test. They gave the substances to lab mice which were then infected with a mouse version of the Ebola virus.
The study went on for 10 days, at the end of which only two substances insured good survival odds and protection against Ebola.
Zoloft and Vascor, two drugs which are already on the market to treat various illnesses have shown the most promising results. Out of the ten mice which received Zoloft as a protection mechanism, 7 of them were still alive and well 28 days late.
The percentage is even better for Vascor, meaning that all of the mice who received this drug were alive by the end of the 28 days, this is 100% protection rate.
In the next stage of the test, the two drugs were tested on all strains of Ebola and Marburg virus and both of them proved to have great tools in preventing the virus from developing. The tests also included the Zaire Ebolavirus, which is the strain that is now killing its way through West Africa.
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