Scientists from SRI International and Collaborations Pharmaceuticals in the US have identified a potential new inhibitor, tilorone dihydrochloride, for infection by Ebola virus.
The researchers used machine learning methods to find the immunomodulatory drug, which is reported to have demonstrated significant efficacy with 100% survival in a disease model of the virus.
Tilorone is currently used in Russia for the treatment of various infections such as influenza, acute respiratory viral infection, viral hepatitis, myelitis and viral encephalitis.
The identification of this low-molecular weight drug is said to offer a new mechanism of action and broad-spectrum activities for the Ebola infection.
With a combination of anti-Ebola efficacy and safe history of usage in humans, tilorone is expected to be an ideal product candidate for development as a monotherapy or combination therapy in the future.
Collaborations Pharmaceuticals CEO Sean Ekins said: “Tilorone was one of three molecules that had been previously identified using a Bayesian Machine learning model and found to be active in-vitro against the Ebola virus, and now represents the first of these to be tested in-vivo.
“This work was based on an initial high throughput screen published by SRI International and demonstrates how such data can be used to help develop new drugs.”
SRI International Discovery Technologies director Peter Madrid said that additional preclinical assessments and disease models will be used to gain better understanding of the compound.
Madrid added: “Tilorone has the clear advantages of widespread availability, broad-spectrum antiviral potential and a track record of safe human use for other viral diseases.”