Vanderbilt Researchers Work to Develop Ebola Treatment - Erika Kurre

By admin on 03/10/2014

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Nashville, TN - Developing a treatment and vaccine for Ebola has been put on the fast track.

It's a project that's been ongoing for about two years now.

Exploratory research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.
   
But now, researchers are working faster and harder on this than ever before.

Vanderbilt Vaccine Center Dir. James Crowe says, "In the last several weeks, we've isolated over 100 new antibodies which are potential drugs."

Crowe's team of about 15 people are working 12-hours or more per day, 7-days a week, and are so close to reaching their goal.

They're gathering blood cell samples from people in Africa who survived the Ebola infection.

The samples do not contain the live virus and are shipped to Nashville for research here at Vanderbilt.

It's in square plates where wells of yellow represent cells that recognize the Ebola virus.

The work is stacking up, taking at least 9 hours to churn through about 50 plates.

Crowe says, "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack.  We look through and find cells that these people have that make antibodies which are the body's natural immunity, way to kill the virus.  Then we pull those needles out and gather them as drugs."

Crowe says it'll be another year or so until these drugs are ready to hit the market.

But for now, Ebola can be managed here in the US without it.

Doctors are expecting a vaccine and treatment can be trialed in West Africa after the first of the year.
   
Researchers at Vanderbilt are also working on treatments for other diseases including the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus.

There are very specific symptoms when it comes to Ebola.
    
Patients see unexplained bleeding or bruising, a severe headache, fever, and feeling sick to their stomach.

A Nigeria, Valentine Uche Chukwuma is part of this research. He told Factnewsonline in a telephone interview that he is optimistic that vaccine will will likely be available earlier than expected.

 

Source Fox 17

Posted on October, 3 2014

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