Barely 24 hours after a report released by the World Health Organisation, WHO, says about 4,269 people have been infected and no fewer than 2,400 others killed by the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, this year in West African countries, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, some good news has appeared.
This is according to an announcement made on Saturday, 13 September, 2014, by researchers at the University of Liverpool that they have made a discovery that can lead to a cure for the deadly Ebola virus.
It would be recalled that since the epidemic outbreak in the West Africa early 2014, scientists and medical experts have been trying hard to fight the deadly Ebola virus and limit it’s outspread.
But it’s a long way to announce a cure for Ebola virus till date.
Only experimental drugs are been used to treat the victims of this deadly virus though some of the drugs have shown some positive results.
However, a team from the Health Protection Research Unit at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, said they have stumbled across an existing drug used in the treatment of severe heart disease, which could be adapted to fight the contagious Ebola virus.
According to Xinhua reports, in collaboration with Public Health England, the team has been looking at how Ebola virus hijacks proteins inside cells, and then seeking ways to stop this from happening.
It was gathered that the experts looked at what proteins inside a cell are critical for the functions of Ebola virus and are hijacked by the virus to help with infection. One of the proteins they have targeted is known as VP24.
This protein disrupts signaling in infected human cells and disrupts the body’s immune system and the fight against the virus.
The Liverpool team then tried to find out if any existing drugs are available that could block the function of this particular protein.
And to their amazement they found the heart drug ‘ouabain’. This drug when administered can reduce the virus’ replication.
According to the team, further tests need to be done to ascertain the efficacy of the drug, but as the heart drug is already in use, much of the work to test whether it is safe for humans has already been completed.
This, they said, would potentially speed up the time it could take get the treatment to Ebola patients in need.
Speaking on their study, Julian Hiscox from the university’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, who led the research, said: “This study shows how existing therapeutics can be identified and potentially repurposed for anti-viral therapy.
“The technique of using existing and tested drugs for a different purpose can save considerable time and ultimately, lives.”
Few months ago, Canadian scientists also announced that a drug for the treatment of Ebola virus has passed the first test to confirm its efficacy.
The Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe condition caused by a virus from the Filoviridae family.
Known to be a condition that is transmitted from animals to humans, this virus spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or animal.