Finding small molecules for the ‘next Ebola’

  • Sean Ekins, Christopher Southan, Megan Coffee
  • F1000Research, February 2015, Faculty of 1000, Ltd.
  • DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.6181.1

How do we fight the next pathogen we discover?

What is it about?

The recent Ebola virus epidemic gave us the opportunity to provide some suggestions of how we can better prepare for the next pathogen outbreak. We use our unique perspectives to address this challenge.

Why is it important?

We have known about Ebola virus since 1976 and still we do not drugs approved to treat it. With HIV / AIDS it was a few years from discovery until drugs were brought out with some efficacy. What happens if we are challenged with another new virus in the near future - how can we fight it?


Dr Sean Ekins
Collaborations in Chemistry

We brought quite different perspectives to this challenge, bioinformatics, cheminformatics and that of the physician the following steps should be undertaken 1. text mine the literature, 2. patent assignees and/or inventors should openly declare their relevant filings, 3. reagents and assays could be commoditized, 4. using manual curation to enhance database links, 5. engage database and curation teams, 6. consider open science approaches, 7. adapt the “box” model for shareable reference compounds, and 8. involve the physician’s perspective.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Sean Ekins and Dr Christopher Southan