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Currently approved drugs found effective in laboratory mice against bioterror threats
Date:4/11/2013

In the most extensive screen of its kind, Texas Biomed scientists in San Antonio have demonstrated the feasibility of repurposing already-approved drugs for use against highly pathogenic bacteria and viruses. The pathogens included emerging diseases and potential bioterror threats ranging from anthrax to the Marburg and Ebola viruses.

In testing a library of 1,012 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, commonly used for treatment of every-day ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure, the scientists found that ten were active against two or more bacteria and that 24 were active against two or more viruses.

Two drugs were found to be the most potent compounds in protecting mice against anthrax while one drug, chloroquine, once used to treat malaria, protected mice against Ebola virus, said Robert Davey, Ph.D., a Texas Biomed virologist.

The new study, which included authors Jean Patterson, Ph.D., and Ricardo Carrion, Ph.D., both of Texas Biomed, appears in the April 2013 issue of the journal PLOS ONE. Their findings came from a collaborative effort among Texas Biomed, independent research institute SRI International and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. It was supported by funds from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Defense Department's agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.

"Repurposing of existing drugs that may have unanticipated activities as potential countermeasures is one way to meet this important goal, since currently approved drugs already have well-established safety and pharmacokinetic profiles in patients, and manufacturing and distribution networks," the authors wrote. "Therefore, approved drugs could rapidly be made available for a new indication in an emergency."

The scientists found a variety of hits against two or more of these bio-threat pathogens, which were validated in secondary tests. As expected, antibiotic compounds were highly active against bacter
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Contact: Joseph Carey
jcarey@txbiomed.org
210-258-9437
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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