About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Treatment for Hemorrhagic Fever on the Anvil Following New Discovery

by Rajashri on September 5, 2008 at 2:28 PM
Font : A-A+

 Treatment for Hemorrhagic Fever on the Anvil Following New Discovery

A major biochemical link in the process by which the Ebola Zaire virus infects cells - a finding that may provide potential treatment for hemorrhagic fever has been identified by scientists at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Ebola produces severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in its victims and inflicts mortality rates close to 90 percent in some outbreaks.


Till date, scientists haven't come up with a vaccine or antiviral therapy to fight against the virus, which is considered a high-risk agent for bioterrorism.

In the latest study, scientists tied Ebola's cellular invasion mechanism to a series of biochemical reactions called the phophoinositide-3 kinase pathway (named for an enzyme found in the cell membrane).

When they activated the PI3 kinase pathway, they found that an Ebola virus particle tricks the cell into drawing it into a bubble-like compartment known as an endosome, which is pulled, together with the virus, into the cell. Later, at a critical point, the virus bursts free from the endosome and begins to reproduce itself.

But, if the PI3 kinase pathway is shut down - as the UTMB team did with a drug designed for that purpose - Ebola virus particles can't escape from the endosome, and the disease process is hampered.

"The nice part about identifying entry mechanisms is you can prevent the virus from infecting the cell. You can stop the whole show before it even gets started," said Robert Davey, UTMB microbiology and immunology associate professor.

The researchers did some of their work using the Ebola Zaire virus itself, and conducted experiments using harmless, hollow, virus-like particles coated with the critical envelope proteins that activate the PI3 kinase pathway.

They also used a unique test created at UTMB that adds a light-emitting molecular beacon, called luciferase, to Ebola viruses and the virus-like particles. And this made them to determine exactly when and where each broke out of its bubble, and track its progress.

"Up to that point, it's really a bus ride for these viruses, and PI3 kinase is the bus driver. Whether you're talking about Ebola or Ebola virus-like particles, they've all got the virus envelope proteins that trigger the PI3 kinase pathway, which is the first step of getting the virus onto that bus," said Davey.

He pointed out that amongst all other viruses that had been found to activate the PI3 kinase pathway, Ebola was the first with envelope proteins that had been seen doing so.

It was also the first virus to be discovered interacting with the PI3 kinase pathway in order to enter cells, which could have profound implications.

"It's actually triggering the reorganizing of the cell for its own devious outcomes - infecting the cell. But there are other possible outcomes of fiddling around with the PI3 kinase. You can get the cell to move, you can get it to live longer, all advantages for a virus. So I'm sure that this is going to be important in other viruses," said Davey.

The scientists are also developing a new generation of drugs that target PI3 kinase, since the enzyme is often activated in cancers. It is possible that these could also be used to defend against Ebola virus.

The study is appearing online in the current issue of the journal PloS Pathogens.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
World AIDS Day 2021 - End Inequalities, End AIDS
View all

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

More News on:
Febrile Fits / Febrile Convulsions Bioterrorism Q Fever Congo Fever Fever Ebola Virus Disease Sick Building Syndrome Lassa Fever / Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever Marburg Virus Disease 

Recommended Reading
Dutch Woman Succumbs to Lethal Virus Contracted in Uganda
A Dutch woman infected during a holiday to Uganda by the contagious Marburg virus, which is similar ...
Structure of Key Ebola Virus Protein Identified
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) say that they have uncovered the shape of the .....
Increased Anti-viral Properties Seen in Evolutionary Protein
The researchers of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have found a rapidly evolving protein ...
Popular Fear of the Ebola Virus!
Popular culture and fears of bioterrorism have stoked the public's fear of the Ebola virus, which .....
Congo Fever
Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a viral disease that affects people who are bitten by infe...
Ebola Virus Disease
Ebola is caused by a virus via direct contact with body fluids or infected blood. Scientists have id...
Febrile Fits / Febrile Convulsions
High fever in kids can cause convulsions and are called febrile fits that do not include the seizure...
Fever or Pyrexia is an elevation in normal body temperature. Causes of fever include infections, inj...
Lassa Fever / Lassa Hemorrhagic Fever
Lassa fever caused by the lassa virus is a severe and fatal hemorrhagic fever....
Marburg Virus Disease
Marburg virus is an animal virus that has infected the human race and first reported from Marburg. T...
Q Fever
Q Fever takes its origin from word “query” and is caused by bacteria Coxiella burnetii that infects ...
Sick Building Syndrome
Sick Building Syndrome is a condition that presents with a set of symptoms (like fatigue, nausea, he...

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 - 2021

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