Chemistry and Life

Medicinal chemistry. Pharmacology. Toxicology. Environmental sciences.

What drugs are being used experimentally to treat ebola?

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With ebola in the news so much these days, I became curious which pharmaceutical drugs are being used to treat patients. I haven’t come across the information in any one place, just scattered among news articles and other sources. So I decided to put together a list myself. There aren’t any drugs approved specifically for treating ebola, but apparently several antiviral agents are being used experimentally. They are mostly drugs developed (or in development) primarily for treating other viruses.

    • Brincidofovir (CMX001) – An experimental antiviral agent which is a prodrug of the approved HIV medication cidofovir (Vistide). It belongs to the class of drugs known as nucleoside analog. The first person with ebola in the United States, Thomas Duncan, received this drug.
    • Favipiravir (T-705) – This is an antiviral agent that has activity against a variety of viruses. It is approved in Japan for use against influenza.
    • Lamivudine – HIV drug used in Liberia
    • ZMapp and ZMab – Related monoclonal antibodies. Both have been used in ebola patients in the United States and in Spain
    • BCX4430 – Experimental broad-spectrum antiviral and nucleoside analog. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is funding additional research and drug production.
    • TKM-Ebola – Has been used in one patient who was infected in Africa and brought to the United States. It is a combination of small interfering RNAs.
    • JK-05 – Several news articles describe this as “an experimental anti-Ebola drug developed by the Chinese military” that is “already approved for emergency military use” and has been sent to Africa, but I can’t find anything specific about what exactly it is or whether it is actually being used yet during the current outbreak
    • FGI-103, FGI-104, FGI-106 – I haven’t found any news references to these compounds currently being used experimentally during the current ebola outbreak, but there are animal studies reported in the corresponding Wikipedia articles

There are also vaccines such as VSV-EBOV under development.  These can’t be used to treat infected patients, but are instead intended to prevent the spread of the disease.

If I have missed any other drugs that have been mentioned in the news but aren’t on this list, please let me know and I’ll add them.

 

 

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