Potential therapy for the Sudan strain of Ebola could help contain some future outbreaks

August 27, 2014, American Chemical Society
Potential therapy for the Sudan strain of Ebola could help contain some future outbreaks

Ebola is a rare, but deadly disease that exists as five strains, none of which have approved therapies. One of the most lethal strains is the Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV). Although not the strain currently devastating West Africa, SUDV has caused widespread illness, even as recently as 2012. In a new study appearing in the journal ACS Chemical Biology, researchers now report a possible therapy that could someday help treat patients infected with SUDV.

John Dye, Sachdev Sidhu, Jonathan Lai and colleagues explain that about 50-90 percent of ebola patients die after experiencing the typical symptoms of the disease, which include fever, muscle aches, vomiting and bleeding. Of the five known ebolaviruses, the Zaire (EBOV) and SUDV are the most deadly and cause the most recurring outbreaks. Many studies have focused on EBOV, the culprit of the current epidemic, but much less attention has been placed on SUDV until now. To develop a therapy for SUDV, this research team turned to an antibody that Dye's group previously reported.

The team's antibody was directed against SUDV and was made in mice. But the human immune system could potentially recognize that antibody as foreign and ultimately get rid of it, preventing the antibody from treating the disease. To avoid this situation, they wanted to make a "humanized" version of the antibody.

In the newly published work, the team put the ebola-specific part of the mouse antibody onto a scaffold and made some changes to this molecule. They identified two versions that were able to fend off SUDV in laboratory tests on cells and in specially bred mice. "These antibodies represent strong immunotherapeutic candidates for the treatment of SUDV infection," say the researchers.

This research, however, isn't expected to help with the current that, as of mid-August, has killed at least 1,200 people. That's because antibodies that kill off one strain of the virus haven't worked against other strains. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration—which has not yet approved any ebola therapies—did allow two U.S. aid workers infected during the current outbreak to be treated with an experimental drug, which is a cocktail of specifically targeting EBOV.

Explore further: Crucial research in development of promising Ebola virus treatment

More information: "Synthetic Antibodies with a Human Framework that Protect Mice from Lethal Sudan Ebolavirus Challenge" ACS Chem. Biol., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/cb5006454

Related Stories

Seven things to know about Ebola

August 13, 2014

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has passed 1,000 and is still rising, according to the World Health Organization. Fear of the virus and concerns about its spread beyond Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone ...

Beware fake ebola treatments on the internet, FDA says

August 15, 2014

(HealthDay)— As the death toll in the West Africa Ebola outbreak passes 1,000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning against products sold online that claim to treat the deadly disease or prevent infection.

5 things to know about Ebola outbreak in W. Africa

July 28, 2014

(AP)—There has been panic and fear about the deadly Ebola disease spreading ever since Nigerian health officials reported Friday that a Liberian man sick with the disease had traveled to Togo and then Nigeria before dying. ...

Recommended for you

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

Revealing the rules behind virus scaffold construction

March 19, 2019

A team of researchers including Northwestern Engineering faculty has expanded the understanding of how virus shells self-assemble, an important step toward developing techniques that use viruses as vehicles to deliver targeted ...

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.