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Identification of novel Ebola virus inhibitors using biologically contained virus

Antiviral Research
March 23, 2022

Despite recent advancements in the development of vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies for Ebola virus disease, treatment options remain limited. Moreover, management and containment of Ebola virus outbreaks is often hindered by the remote nature of the locations in which the outbreaks originate. Small-molecule compounds offer the advantage of being relatively cheap and easy to produce, transport and store, making them an interesting modality for the development of novel therapeutics against Ebola virus disease. Furthermore, the repurposing of small-molecule compounds, previously developed for alternative applications, can aid in reducing the time needed to bring potential therapeutics from bench to bedside. For this purpose, the Medicines for Malaria Venture provides collections of previously developed small-molecule compounds for screening against other infectious diseases. In this study, we used biologically contained Ebola virus to screen over 4,200 small-molecule drugs and drug-like compounds provided by the Medicines for Malaria Venture (i.e., the Pandemic Response Box and the COVID Box) and the Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3, KU Leuven, Belgium). In addition to confirming known Ebola virus inhibitors, illustrating the validity of our screening assays, we identified eight novel selective Ebola virus inhibitors. Although the inhibitory potential of these compounds remains to be validated in vivo, they represent interesting compounds for the study of potential interventions against Ebola virus disease and might serve as a basis for the development of new therapeutics.

Genedata Screener was used for data analysis of an antiviral screening assay.