Ibuprofen and toremifene inhibit Ebola virus

The surprising results could help guide the development of new Ebola treatments, say the researchers.

Micrograph of the ebola virus budding from an infected cell (blue)

The 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa claimed the lives of more than 11,000 people, but there are currently no treatments for it. 

To find new treatments quickly, existing drugs have been screened against Ebola and researchers at the University of Oxford used X-ray crystallography to further test some of those drugs to see if any could bind to the virus directly. 

Surprisingly, ibuprofen and also the cancer drug toremifene were found to bind to a key part of the virus, destabilising it and preventing viral fusion, report researchers in Nature (online, 29 June 2016)[1]

Toremifene was more potent than ibuprofen but, more importantly, the researchers say their research could help guide the development of even more potent Ebola therapies that bind to the same region of the virus.


[1] Zhao Y, Ren J, Harlos K et al. Toremifene interacts with and destabilizes the Ebola virus glycoprotein. Nature 2016. doi: 10.1038/nature18615

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, August 2016, Vol 8, No 8;8(8):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201405

You may also be interested in