Immune response high in Ebola survivors

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A recent study of four Ebola survivors who received treatment at Emory University Hospital in Georgia found that the patients' immune responses were highly active, which may help develop a future vaccine for the deadly virus. 

Researchers from the university and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the patients had high B and T cell activity during the most acute phase of the illness. The researchers also found that the patients' immune systems remained highly active even after the Ebola virus was no longer detectable in their blood. 

This was in contrast to previous studies that suggested immune systems may be inhibited by Ebola. 

B cells are vital to generating antibodies against the Ebola virus. CD8+ T cells kill infected cells with a major target being an internal Ebola virus protein known as NP.

Researchers said based on their findings a vaccine containing added NP may generate stronger T cell reaction. 

"Our findings counter the idea that Ebola virus infection is immunosuppressive, at least in the patients that we were able to study," Dr. Anita McElroy, assistant professor of pediatrics in infectious disease at the university and lead author of the study,  said. "They also demonstrate the value that supportive care may have in enabling the immune system to fight back against Ebola virus infection." 

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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