In Ebola Crisis, Hope and Heroism

Traditional drug repurposing, although successful in treating some diseases, still requires considerable time to identify candidate compounds and even more time to test them in clinical trials. Ebola requires and deserves a much more aggressive approach, while still balancing safety and efficacy concerns.

One way to considerably speed up the drug development process is to use high-end, bioinformatics-oriented computing approaches. When applied to drug repurposing, this approach can allow for a much faster identification of candidate compounds. When applied to clinical trials, this approach may quickly provide valuable animal and human information without the need for actual subjects.

With bioinformatics, drug repurposing can be used quickly without resorting to desperate measures that compromise safety. These bioinformatics approaches are already under development for diseases that are prevalent in wealthy countries, like cancer; Ebola provides an opportunity for this potentially game-changing approach to be applied to a disease primarily affecting those in resource-limited countries.