There’s more hope that an Ebola-fighting drug is on its way.
Biochemists at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in the United States, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, have developed a synthetic molecule that mimics a key portion of the Ebola virus, which could be used as a universal target for anti-Ebola drugs.
Though experimental drugs are currently available in limited supplies to treat affected patients, they are not likely to work in a future Ebola outbreak caused by a different or new class of the virus, according to co-lead investigator Debra Eckert.
“Development of a broadly acting therapy is an important long-term goal that would allow cost-effective stockpiling of a universal Ebola treatment,” she said in a statement.
The molecule they made, referred to as a peptide mimic, acts like a part of Ebola that dictates how the virus gets into a human’s host cell, beginning the infection’s progression. That portion of Ebola is present in all five of the disease’s known species.
Information about the molecule is published in this week’s edition of journal Protein Science.
The group who worked on this study had previously developed molecules that inhibit HIV entry into the body.