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Novel Research Points to Single Cure For All Ebola Strains

Update Date: Oct 09, 2014 04:20 PM EDT
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Researchers at the University of Utah may have found a way to treat all strains of Ebola in a single go.  

According to Hindustan Times, biochemists from the university developed a molecule that mimics the functioning of a conserved protein area within the Ebola virus. The protein area plays a crucial in the entry of the virus into its host. This molecule, called peptide mimic, can pave the way for targeted Ebola treatments as the protein area is common to all strains of the virus, researchers say.

"The current growing epidemic demonstrates the need for effective broad-range Ebola virus therapies. Importantly, viral sequence information from the epidemic reveals rapid changes in the viral genome, while our target sequence remains the same. Therefore, our target will enable the discovery of drugs with the potential to treat any future epidemic, even if new Ebola virus strains emerge," Dr. Tracy R Clinton, lead author on the study said in a press release.

The optimism around the study stems from the fact that it is amongst those looking at treatments for all strains of the virus, unlike the present crop of experimental drugs which are effective against the current Zaire strain, The Times of India reported. 

"Although the current push of clinical trials will hopefully lead to an effective treatment for the Zaire species causing the present epidemic, the same treatments are unlikely to be effective against future outbreaks of a different or new Ebola species. Development of a broadly acting therapy is an important long-term goal that would allow cost-effective stockpiling of a universal Ebola treatment," said Dr. Debra Eckert another researcher associated with the study.

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 3,000 people. Experimental drugs are at the stage of clinical trials even as trials for vaccines are underway. Worst case scenario projections for the outbreak shows the virus could infect nearly 1.4 million people by next year.

The study has been reported in the journal Protein Science

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