A drug derived from a Chinese medicinal herb is showing promise for combating Ebola infection, effectively imprisoning the virus inside cells so it cannot do its usual damage, scientists said on Thursday. The researchers said the compound, called tetrandrine, blocked infection of human white blood cells in lab dishes and prevented Ebola
virus disease in lab mice. More research is needed, including monkey studies, before it can be tested in people, they added. “The work has revealed a new chink in the armor of Ebola virus,” said virologist Robert Davey of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, who estimated this approach potentially could be used to treat people in two to five years. “I am hopeful that the dose needed to control disease will be safe but we just have to do the work and find out,” Davey added.