Ebola Survivors Could Pave the Way for Treatments

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Researchers from Emory University, the Atlanta hospital that aided the recovery of 4 Ebola patients, will lead a 10-institution team to test a novel way to fight Ebola. The team plans to isolate antibody genes from Ebola survivors’ white blood cells, culture them to produce antibodies, and conduct experiments to see whether certain antibodies effectively neutralize strains of the Ebola virus.

The approach differs from the emergency transfusions of blood plasma from Ebola survivors to sick patients, employed in several U.S. cases.

The new method will use DNA or RNA--effectively providing the “recipe” for creating antibodies that fight the Ebola virus, according to an expert quoted by Reuters. It’s unlike current immunization techniques. Any developments could eventually lead to new vaccines and therapies.

The U.S. government is providing millions in funding. Researchers from the CDC, USAMRIID, and several academic laboratories are participating in the project.

Ebola Virus
Ebola Virus

After successfully treating four Ebola patients last year, Emory University in Atlanta is now leading a government-funded project that will use blood from survivors of the deadly virus to test a novel way of treating infectious disease.

Traditional vaccines boost the immune system's response to infections. The new project will inject people with genetic material, such as DNA or RNA, in hopes of spurring a person's own cells to make specific antibodies capable of fighting Ebola or other pathogens.

"The person's body is the factory," said…

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