Existing anti-parasitic medication could help fight against the Ebola virus

The study has demonstrated that Nitazoxanide has considerably amplified immunity to Ebola, and inhibited the virus's replication.

According to scientists from the Boston Children's Hospital, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic treatment could potentially help fight against the Ebola epidemic that has been ravaging the Democratic Republic of the Congo for over a year.

Scientists at the Boston Children's Hospital conducted a study on human cells in order to test the efficacy of an anti-parasitic, Nitazoxanide, for the treatment of the Ebola virus. 

The study, which was published in online journal iScience, demonstrated that the treatment, which is prescribed to treat gastro-intestinal infections (caused by the Giardia and Cryptosporidium bacteria), has considerably amplified the cells' immunity to Ebola and inhibited the virus' replication.

Study director Dr. Anne Goldfeld hopes that further tests and validations will ensconce Nitazoxanide in the fight against Ebola. 

"Currently, there is no easily deployable therapy for Ebola virus. There are some very promising vaccines, but there is no oral, inexpensive medication available," says Goldfeld.

Prevention and treatment for Ebola

Another advantage of Nitazoxanide: its minimal side-effect profile and appropriateness for children: If it is approved for this off-label use, it could very well become an essential part of Ebola and treatment.

Symptoms of the Ebola virus are intense fever, headaches, muscle pain, violent diarrhea, kidney and/or liver failure, and hemorrhages.

Since August 1, 2018, the Ebola virus has killed over 1,800 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In July 2019, the World Health Organization qualified the epileptic as a "global public health emergency."