New drugs show effectiveness against Marburg, Ebola

Officials with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and AVI BioPharma announced that they have created a drug that showed effectiveness in combating the Marburg and Ebola viruses.

In a paper published recently in Nature Medicine, the researchers claim the drug protected 100 percent of test monkeys against Marburg virus and 60 percent of monkeys against Zaire Ebola virus, reports. The two drugs, AVI-6002 and AVI-6003, target the Ebola and Marburg viruses, respectively.

The two viruses cause hemorrhagic fever, which kills approximately 90 percent of humans who become infected. The viruses occur naturally in parts of Africa and are both considered bio-terror threats.

In the Ebola study, nine rhesus monkey’s were exposed to the virus. Eight of the monkeys were given the drug 30 to 60 minutes following exposure. Five out of those eight survived, according to

Travis Warren, the lead author and research scientist at USAMRIID, said the three monkeys that did not survive lived about four days longer than a monkey that did not receive the drug, proving the drug still had an effect.

“In the real-world scenario, these drugs would be applied in combination with supportive treatment, and that's something we didn't include in this evaluation at all,” Warren told “We didn't take efforts to keep the animals well hydrated, we didn't have a team of doctors around them that would occur in a medical scenario.”

In the Marburg study, all 13 cynomolgus monkeys exposed to the virus who received the drug survived.

Warren said the most recent version of the drug is helpful in hospital settings, where people may accidentally expose themselves to the viruses and be able to take the drug within an hour.

“For individuals who live in endemic regions of the world and are exposed to the virus, they're probably not going to know they have the virus for some time,” Warren told “So it's an important question that remains unanswered in our work: how long can we begin to delay the treatment and still provide protection?”