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Ebola thwarted in mice by drugs for infertility, cancer

Ebola thwarted in mice by drugs for infertility, cancer

Extensive search of existing medicines turns up two that seem to fend off deadly virus

By
1:58pm, June 19, 2013

Two drugs already on the market for other purposes can halt Ebola virus in mice. The findings open the way for further testing of the drugs, clomiphene and toremifene, against the deadly virus.

Scientists screened more than 2,000 drugs against Ebola, a process that required the highest level of safety precautions because the virus is so lethal. Several drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators showed promise, including clomiphene, marketed as Clomid and prescribed to treat infertility, and toremifene, used to treat advanced breast cancer.

In the June 19 Science Translational Medicine, researchers report that each drug prevented Ebola virus from commandeering cells in lab-dish experiments. The researchers also injected mice with one form of the Ebola virus, and nine of 10 mice given clomiphene one hour after exposure survived a month-long observation period. Five of 10 mice getting toremifene died within 10 days, but the other five survived the month.

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