Novadrug, a Chicago bio-tech company, works to fight Ebola

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Novadrug, a Chicago bio-tech company, is working to develop drugs to fight Ebola.

Dr. Eli Huberman is the founder and CEO of Novadrug, a company dedicated to the development of antiviral drugs.

Novadrug has been working with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases on ways to combat the Ebola virus.

Huberman says the company is developing drugs that cover whole groups of viruses.

"We started the development against Hep C and AIDS, as we tested these we discovered they also worked on Ebola," Huberman said.

Huberman is the former head of biological research at Argonne National Laboratory. He says the results are preliminary and we are a long way off from having an approved treatment.

"We are in the pre- clinical stage, not in the human stage, because FDA has a long list of requirements, we know that in cultured cells it will block the replication of the virus - every drug has a life cycle and our drugs block a step in such a cycle," Huberman said. "Once we have the drug, the fear will be less because you will be able to give it as a preventive drug but also for treatment."

Huberman says at this point we should not panic, but we should be concerned because of the potential of people coming into this country with Ebola, and that we have to be prepared for it.

"We have strict infection control, something we call 'universal precautions,' and every hospital worker is trained," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck of the Illinois Department of Health.

Hasbrouck says quarantine stations exist at several airports across the country, including one at O'Hare Airport.

"Any travelers who have symptoms are going to be asked questions. They will take their temperature and, if necessary, ship them out to a designated hospital," Hasbrouck said.

Huberman says more money is needed to continue and advance Ebola drug research.
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