Ebola Virus Entry: From Molecular Characterization to Drug Discovery
Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, IT-35121 Padova, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030274
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Ebolavirus, Marburgvirus, and Cuevavirus Research)
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is one of the most lethal transmissible infections, characterized by a high fatality rate, and caused by a member of the Filoviridae family. The recent large outbreak of EVD in Western Africa (2013–2016) highlighted the worldwide threat represented by the disease and its impact on global public health and the economy. The development of highly needed anti-Ebola virus antivirals has been so far hampered by the shortage of tools to study their life cycle in vitro, allowing to screen for potential active compounds outside a biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) containment. Importantly, the development of surrogate models to study Ebola virus entry in a BSL-2 setting, such as viral pseudotypes and Ebola virus-like particles, tremendously boosted both our knowledge of the viral life cycle and the identification of promising antiviral compounds interfering with viral entry. In this context, the combination of such surrogate systems with large-scale small molecule compounds and haploid genetic screenings, as well as rational drug design and drug repurposing approaches will prove priceless in our quest for the development of a treatment for EVD.