Via Metro, a report by Helen Branswell of The Canadian Press: Winnipeg lab reports Ebola progress. Excerpt:
Canadian researchers are reporting a potential advance in the treatment of Ebola virus infection, one of the most deadly pathogens known to humankind.
Researchers from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are reporting that monkeys deliberately infected with Ebola were successfully saved with a cocktail of antibodies against the virus.
Four of four monkeys given the treatment 24 hours after infection survived. And two of four monkeys treated 48 hours after infection also survived.
There currently is no vaccine and no treatment for Ebola, a viral hemorrhagic fever that causes sporadic, tragic outbreaks in countries in central Africa.
This treatment isn’t ready for human use yet. And even if the work continues to look promising, hurdles will undoubtedly arise when attempts are made to translate findings in the lab to a usable therapy in the field.
Still, these results are creating optimism that a tool with which to combat Ebola outbreaks may be on the horizon.
“Our researchers have seen first hand the terrible effects of the Ebola virus on populations in Africa,” Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director of the Winnipeg lab and chief science officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said in a news release.
“This discovery should pave the way for the development of a new drug that has the potential to save many lives.”
Plummer’s enthusiasm was echoed by Dr. Pierre Formenty, team leader for epidemic and emerging diseases at the World Health Organization.
“It’s excellent science,” Formenty said in an interview from Geneva. “And it’s very hopeful for us.”
Formenty says this work makes him more optimistic than he’s felt in years that a usable tool against Ebola may be in sight.
The paper is published in this week’s issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.