The BU Annual Fund Leadership Giving Society presents a conversation with Dr.
Drug Found Effective Against Virus Similar to Ebola
Original article from: USA Today posted on August 20, 2014. by Karen Weintraub
A study out today shows that an experimental treatment for Marburg virus – a close cousin to Ebola – can be given after symptoms of the terrible disease have started to appear.
The finding suggests that similar treatments may work for Ebola patients, most of whom only know they’ve been infected after they develop severe symptoms.
The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed at least 1,350 people – more than half of those infected.
Treatment options are extremely limited, though patients who get better supportive care faster generally have a higher rate of survival.
One experimental drug – given to two Americans and several Liberians who showed signs of the disease – appears to have been helpful, though it is not clear whether they would have survived anyway or what other treatments they received. The drug, ZMapp, includes proteins that interfere with the way Ebola attaches and enters a host cell.
Today’s study, published in Science Translational Medicine, looks at a different drug that takes a genetic approach to fighting the disease. The drug uses bits of genetic material to block Ebola genes from acting, the way sticking gum in a lock would prevent a key from slipping in.