Chloroquine Inhibited Ebola Virus Replication in Vitro but Failed to Protect Against Infection and Disease in the in Vivo Guinea Pig Model

J Gen Virol. 2015 Dec;96(12):3484-3492. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000309.


Ebola virus (EBOV) is highly pathogenic, with a predisposition to cause outbreaks in human populations accompanied by significant mortality. Owing to the lack of approved therapies, screening programmes of potentially efficacious drugs have been undertaken. One of these studies has demonstrated the possible utility of chloroquine against EBOV using pseudotyped assays. In mouse models of EBOV disease there are conflicting reports of the therapeutic effects of chloroquine. There are currently no reports of its efficacy using the larger and more stringent guinea pig model of infection. In this study we have shown that replication of live EBOV is impaired by chloroquine in vitro. However, no protective effects were observed in vivo when EBOV-infected guinea pigs were treated with chloroquine. These results advocate that chloroquine should not be considered as a treatment strategy for EBOV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Chloroquine / pharmacology*
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Ebolavirus / drug effects*
  • Ebolavirus / physiology
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / drug therapy*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • RNA, Viral / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Antimalarials
  • RNA, Viral
  • Chloroquine