Ebola virus (EBOV), one of the most infectious human viruses and a leading cause of viral hemorrhagic fever, imposes a potential public health threat with several recent outbreaks. Despite the difficulties associated with working with this pathogen in biosafety level-4 containment, a protective vaccine and antiviral therapeutic were recently approved. However, the high mortality rate of EBOV infection underscores the necessity to continuously identify novel antiviral strategies to help expand the scope of prophylaxis/therapeutic management against future outbreaks. This includes identifying antiviral agents that target EBOV entry, which could improve the management of EBOV infection. Herein, using EBOV glycoprotein (GP)-pseudotyped particles, we screened a panel of natural medicinal extracts, and identified the methanolic extract of Perilla frutescens (PFME) as a robust inhibitor of EBOV entry. We show that PFME dose-dependently impeded EBOV GP-mediated infection at non-cytotoxic concentrations, and exerted the most significant antiviral activity when both the extract and the pseudoparticles are concurrently present on the host cells. Specifically, we demonstrate that PFME could block viral attachment and neutralize the cell-free viral particles. Our results, therefore, identified PFME as a potent inhibitor of EBOV entry, which merits further evaluation for development as a therapeutic strategy against EBOV infection.
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