Influenza drug could fight ebola

Swiss-based biotechnical company Evolva has developed an influenza drug that theoretically also works against Ebola and other potentially fatal viruses.
The drug targets the mechanism of the body's immune system used during a viral attack rather than focusing on one virus in particular. Because well-controlled efficacy trials for potentially lethal substances or organisms are not sanctioned, this drug may be a back-door solution to testing to see if medical countermeasures actually work, The Scientist reports.
EV-077 blocks the thromboxane receptor, which is a G protein-coupled receptor located on the cell surfaces of multiple human tissues that performs a variety of functions. Scientists believe that some viruses induce increased synthesis of thromboxane A2, which stimulate TP receptors expressed in immune cells and inhibit the interaction between the two cell types, in turn, reducing the immune response. In animal flu studies published in February, EV-077 reduced the effects of TXA2 on the TP receptors and induced fewer flu symptoms than in animals that were given Tamiflu.
Scientists at Evolva say that because part of the innate human immune response to Ebola and the flu is to increase expression of TXA2, it may be possible that the drug will be effective against both pathogens. The company has also tested the effectiveness of EV-077 for ailments such as diabetes.
“We can get the FDA comfortable with a new technology for a first indication that has broad applications, then follow up with an indication that has a more specific use against threat agents," Alan Randolph, the director of the chemical and biological technologies for the Defense Threat Reduction, said, according to The Scientist.
If all goes well, it is likely to take six years and dozens of trials before EV-077 is approved as a bioterror antidote. The approach that Evolva is taking might be the closest science can come to securing a successful remedy for a bioterror attack.
“We can no longer afford to develop products for specific agents,” Rudolph said, according to The Scientist. “There are too many threats, the threats are too dynamic, and we don’t have the time or money to develop specific products.”