Facilitated By

San Antonio Medical Foundation

SwRI researchers work to develop Ebola countermeasure

Principal Investigator(s)
Joe McDonough, Ph.D.
Collaborator Institutions
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Funded by
DTRA
Research Start Date
Status
Active

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has awarded Southwest Research Institute a contract  to combine two available medications and test the resulting combination drug therapy against the Ebola virus. SwRI is collaborating with Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) on this program. The award is a one-year contract with two additional option years.

“We are at the forefront of rapidly developing and fielding new therapeutics,” said Dr. Joe McDonough, director of the Pharmaceuticals and Bioengineering Department at SwRI. “We have a unique approach to repurpose two existing drugs that we believe will more effectively work together to target emerging bio-threats like Ebola.”

Because there are no proven treatments for the Ebola virus currently, outbreaks can cause fatalities as high as 90 percent. Using its core pharmaceutical capabilities, SwRI will create a more bioavailable, or more easily absorbed, formulation of cepharanthine (CEPN). CEPN is a Japanese drug that has been safely used by humans for more than 40 years to treat a wide range of illnesses. In screening for chemical compounds that could potentially fight Ebola virus infection, Texas Biomed scientists discovered CEPN was effective at combatting the Ebola virus but required very high doses. This new formulation of CEPN will be combined with chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria. Texas Biomed will conduct efficacy testing of the formulations in its state-of-the-art Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory.

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to combine two available medications and test the resulting combination drug therapy against the Ebola virus. SwRI is collaborating with Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) on this program. The award is a one-year contract with two additional option years.

“We are at the forefront of rapidly developing and fielding new therapeutics,” said Dr. Joe McDonough, director of the Pharmaceuticals and Bioengineering Department at SwRI. “We have a unique approach to repurpose two existing drugs that we believe will more effectively work together to target emerging bio-threats like Ebola.”

Because there are no proven treatments for the Ebola virus currently, outbreaks can cause fatalities as high as 90 percent. Using its core pharmaceutical capabilities, SwRI will create a more bioavailable, or more easily absorbed, formulation of cepharanthine (CEPN). CEPN is a Japanese drug that has been safely used by humans for more than 40 years to treat a wide range of illnesses. In screening for chemical compounds that could potentially fight Ebola virus infection, Texas Biomed scientists discovered CEPN was effective at combatting the Ebola virus but required very high doses. This new formulation of CEPN will be combined with chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria. Texas Biomed will conduct efficacy testing of the formulations in its state-of-the-art Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory.
 

Drug Discovery
Infectious Disease