Ebola May Have Weakness

Ebola, a rare and lethal virus for which there are no known treatments, may be treated through a protein that helps transport cholesterol inside cells.

Ebola, a rare and lethal virus for which there are no known treatments, may be treated through a protein that helps transport cholesterol inside cells. U.S. researchers say the protein may be a key to developing drugs to treat Ebola, reports Reuters.

The protein is known as Niemann-Pick C1. The study was published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Ebola emerged in 1976 in villages along the Ebola River in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It kills 90 percent of people infected by it and is also fatal in monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.

Although there are no available vaccines or anti-viral drugs that prevent the infection, new research shows the virus has a weakness in the form of a well-known protein called Niemann-Pick, according to Reuters.

Kartik Chandran, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said in a telephone interview with Reuters, “What we showed is this virus needs this protein. Mice that have less of this protein are very resistant to being killed by Ebola and the Marburg virus.”

Researchers are optimistic that the new findings on Ebola can eventually lead to treatments. However, Chandran did say it will take many years, and possibly even a decade, before treatments would be available for human use.

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