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Zoloft, Vascor found effective against Ebola virus

By Marilyn Malara
Zoloft, Vascor found effective against Ebola virus
This National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) image, taken on Aug.12, 2014 using a digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM), depicts a single filamentous Ebola virus particle. Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates. Photo by NIAID | License Photo

FREDERICK, Md., June 6 (UPI) -- New research finds that a preexisting antidepressant and discontinued heart drug may successfully fight the deadly Ebola virus.

In a report published Wednesday in the journal titled Science Translational Medicine, researchers reveal that after testing over 2,600 compounds -- including vitamins, minerals, FDA approved drugs, amino acids and food additives -- 2 wound up blocking the spread of the Ebola virus the best.

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Zoloft (sertraline), a popular antidepressant on the market since the early '90s, cured 7 of 10 mice infected with the virus; Vascor (bepridil), a calcium channel blocker currently discontinued in the U.S., cured all of the 10 infected mice treated with the drug. About 30 compounds made it to final stages of testing for this particular report and scientists say they will continue to work with the Zoloft, Vascor and the others to find the most promising Ebola fighters.

Researchers say more in-depth testing is needed in order to completely confirm the drugs' effectiveness, and that current results don't guarantee successful application in the real world. Additionally, concentrations of the drugs used to treat the test subjects were higher doses than recommended for human consumption.

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However, the participating researchers believe that testing preexisting medications and compounds may speed up the time it takes to respond to outbreaks in the future.

"By repurposing approved drugs, in theory, one may reduce the risk, time and cost," the report said.

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