View Full Version : Scientists defeat Ebola virus – But... .

06-06-2010, 10:35 AM

Researchers have found a way to make test monkeys totally resistant to the deadly Ebola virus, which normally has a 90% mortality rate, but there are limits to how it can be used to stop outbreaks.

Ebola epidemics are quite rare and limited to Central Africa, which is a boon, because the disease is extremely virulent and kills nine out of ten people infected in a matter of weeks. Its gruesome symptoms, which include bleeding, severe fever and vomiting, seem to come straight out of horror movies. So far no efficient treatment for the virus has been found.

However a new approach to fighting the virus, which has been long feared for its potential as a bioterror weapon, comes from the Boston University School of Medicine. Virologist Thomas Geisbert and colleagues used so-called small interfering RNAs (siRNA) to interfere with the virus’ replication. The molecules packed in special particles, which protect them from breaking down before reaching infected cells, were injected into test macaques shortly after their contamination with Ebola, they report in the medical journal Lancet.

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The monkeys, who are even more vulnerable to the disease, were given doses of the experimental medicine 30 minutes after exposure and on days one, two, three, four, five, and six after exposure. All four animals survived. Three other macaques didn’t receive the treatment on days two, four and six, and two of them fought off the virus.

Researchers are yet to determine the correct dosage and which of the three kinds of siRNAs they used simultaneously works best.

The approach may not be practically applicable to outbreaks of Ebola in the wild, because the medicine must be taken soon after getting the infection. But is will certainly be a boon for virology labs working with Ebola strains, where accidental exposure may happen. Last year a German scientist pricked her hand with a needle containing the virus and was treated with an experimental vaccine. She survived.

06-06-2010, 02:25 PM
good news, and it may indicate that they are on the right path to defeat this terrible disease.

06-06-2010, 06:49 PM
If not that. Then stop it in its tracks. This virus is particularly gruesome.