A group of drugs already in everyday use to treat psychosis or depression may also be used to defeat deadly and emerging viruses, according to new research led by the University of Leeds. The virus the research focused on was the Bunyavirus family, which includes lethal human pathogens such as Hantaviruses and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus.

Dr Jamel Mankouri, of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Leeds, said: “This is a breakthrough finding since bunyaviruses are considered as emerging pathogens with the potential to establish a global disease range with massive importance in healthcare, animal welfare, and economics. In Mediterranean countries, Africa, the Middle East and some Asian countries, outbreaks have been known to kill up to four out of 10 people who contract it. This virus has the ability to jump from animals to humans and vice versa; drug repurposing will be essential in bypassing this time-consuming process of getting a new drug approved, allowing for new treatments to reach patients more quickly. Read more.