Treatment actively counters Ebola just three days after injection
The treatment implements a sequence of certain short strands of RNA (commonly called siRNA) that are meant to detect and disrupt the Ebola virus in such a way that the virus becomes ineffective.
Researchers discovered this treatment is effective when they tested it against the most recent Makona stain of Ebola that has been found in animals. All of the animals that received that treatment showed milder symptoms and eventually recovered entirely. The treatment is specifically tailored to the strain of Ebola that caused the outbreak in West Africa, where thousands of people have died from Ebola infections, but a significant advantage to this method is that the treatment can be easily adapted to treat different strains of viruses.
"We quickly adapted our candidate treatment to target the Makona outbreak strain of Ebola virus," UTMB professor of microbiology and immunology Thomas Geisbert said. "We were able to protect all of our nonhuman primates against a lethal Makona Ebola infection when treatment began three days following infection. At this point, those infected showed clinical signs of disease and had detectable levels of virus in their blood."
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals CEO and President and CEO Mark Murray said this study demonstrates rapid and accurate adaptation of the siRNA-LNP technology to target genetic sequences emerging from new Ebola virus outbreaks. Further details can be found in the Nature Journal edition that was released Wednesday.