About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Ebola Virus Changes Over Time, may Thwart Drugs

by Bidita Debnath on January 20, 2015 at 11:53 PM
Font : A-A+

 Ebola Virus Changes Over Time, may Thwart Drugs

The deadly Ebola virus is changing, and new genetic mutations that have arisen in the past four decades could thwart the experimental drugs that some pharmaceutical companies are developing, reveal researchers.

There is no drug on the market to treat Ebola, and no vaccine to prevent it, but clinical trials were accelerated last year after the worst outbreak in history began sweeping West Africa, killing more than eight thousand people so far and infecting more than 21,000.


Until recently, drug companies had been reluctant to invest much in Ebola treatments, seeing little cash return from treating a virus that tends to strike sporadically in Africa.

Even though some drugs are now being fast-tracked, they were developed well over a decade ago, based on strains of Ebola that were identified when the virus first emerged in the 1970s.

Some of the most promising drugs bind to and target a piece of the virus's genetic sequence.

Since viruses naturally mutate over time, that could mean the drugs will not work as well as hoped, said the study in the journal mBio.

"The virus has not only changed since these therapies were designed, but it's continuing to change," said lead author Jeffrey Kugelman, a viral geneticist at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from USAMRIID, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that about three percent of the genome of the current strain of Ebola virus in West Africa contained changes, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, when compared to outbreaks of other Ebola variants in 1976 and 1995.

They also found 10 new mutations that might interfere with the actions of monoclonal antibody, siRNA (small-interfering RNA), or PMO (phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer) drugs currently being tested, according to the research.

Three of those 10 mutations appeared during the current epidemic which has struck mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The researchers urged drug developers to check whether the mutations they found might affect their experimental therapeutics.

"Ebola researchers need to assess drug efficacy in a timely manner to make sure that valuable resources are not spent developing therapies that no longer work," said Kugelman.

Source: AFP

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Western Diet may Augment the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases
Black Tea Protects against Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases
Green Mediterranean Diet may Help Repair Age-Related Brain Damages
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Chicken Pox Drug Toxicity Shigellosis Bioterrorism Congo Fever Ebola Virus Disease 

Recommended Reading
Ebola Fear Struck 248 Passengers on Newark Flight
Newark Liberty is one of five airports nationwide that were designated in October as U.S. points of ...
Mali Declared Ebola-Free
Mali has been free of Ebola by the Malian government and the United Nations on Sunday....
Red Cross Nurse Working in Sierra Leone Dies of Ebola
A nurse working for the Red Cross in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola in the eastern district of ......
Ebola 'Passed the Tipping Point', Says UN Special Envoy
The Ebola crisis now has a reasonable chance that it could end quickly and has passed the tipping ....
Chicken Pox
Chicken pox is an acute and highly contagious viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus....
Congo Fever
Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a viral disease that affects people who are bitten by infe...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola is caused by a virus via direct contact with body fluids or infected blood. Scientists have id...
Shigellosis or Bacillary Dysentery is a common cause of gastro-enteritis worldwide and can cause blo...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)