New Study Identifies Ebola Virus’s Achilles’ Heel
With more than 11,000 deaths and a total of 27,013 among reported, confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ebola Virus Disease 2014 outbreak represents the largest in history and it has required huge efforts from all over the world to restore the situation. After Liberia was declared “Ebola free” on May 9th by World Health Organization, the number of infected patient remains low. However, teams of doctors and experts all over the world continue their research to find a definitive solution to EVD.
In this regard a new promising study was published on the online journal mBio last 26th May.
The research revealed that once the virus has entered the cell, the membrane surrounds it and creates an endosome tiny enzyme-filled structure that digest and recycle cellular components. The virus tries to escape destruction by attaching a host protein called Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) to enter the cell. As consequence, the presence of NPC1 appears as fundamental for the replication of the virus and the study demonstrate that mice without the protein survived the virus, while mice with intact copies of the NPC1 gene died. “Ideally future research in humans, based on these findings, will lead to the development of antiviral drugs that can effectively target NPC1 and prevent infection not just by Ebola, but also by other highly virulent filoviruses, which also require NPC1 as a receptor” said co-study leader Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology and the Harold and Muriel Block Faculty Scholar in Virology at Einstein College of Medicine.
Full Study Here
Further information on the outbreak of EVD Here