Nav: Home

Progress towards protection from highly lethal Ebola, Marburg viruses

July 12, 2016

Washington, DC - July 12, 2016 - Ebola and Marburg filovirus disease outbreaks have typically occurred as isolated events, confined to central Africa. However, the recent Ebola epidemic spread to several African countries, and caused 11,000 deaths. That epidemic underscored the need to develop vaccines and therapeutics that could be used to fight future disease outbreaks. Now new research suggests that antibodies to filoviruses from individuals who have survived these diseases may offer protection--not only against the particular filovirus that infected an individual, but against other filoviruses, as well. The research is published in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

In their study, the researchers tested serum antibodies collected from survivors between one and 14 years after three separate and well-documented outbreaks, said corresponding author Mohan Natesan, Ph.D., Investigator, Molecular and Translational Sciences, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, MD. They found that antibodies from the various filoviruses present substantial cross-reactivity--that is, antibodies from one filovirus reacted to other filoviruses--for up to 14 years after primary infection.

"Although there are still no clear correlates of immunity, our results suggest that antibody responses to disease outbreaks extend beyond the primary virus, and may impart at least partial immunity to other filoviral infections," said Natesan.

"The broad protein-level and virus-level cross-reactivities that we observed for antibodies from humans years after their recovery from infections caused by Ebola and Marburg viruses indicate that these serological immune responses are long lived and extend beyond the original filovirus exposure," the investigators write.

"In order to examine antibody specificity, we used microarrays containing recombinant antigens from all six species of filoviruses," said Natesan. The microarrays are systems containing tiny fragments of filovirus printed onto miniaturized microscope slides. Each fragment is exposed to antibodies obtained from the survivors of filovirus infection. The strength of each antibody/antigen interaction is determined from the strength of its signal in microarray.

The average fatality rate for Ebola is 50 percent. (Ebola is fairly representative of the other filoviruses.) The disease is highly infectious--via mucus membranes, broken skin, bodily secretions and fluids, as well as through contact with surfaces such as bedding and clothing that are contaminated with these fluids, according to the World Health Organization. Contact with the dead body of a victim can also spread the disease. Healthcare workers have frequently become infected while treating victims when protection protocols were not strictly observed. Patients are infectious as long as virus remains in their bodies.
-end-
The full study can be viewed online at: http://cvi.asm.org/content/early/2016/06/16/CVI.00107-16.abstract.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 47,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications,certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

American Society for Microbiology

Related Ebola Articles:

Ebola survivors have a 'unique' retinal scar
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have conducted a study of Ebola survivors to determine if the virus has any specific effects on the back on the eye using an ultra widefield retinal camera.
Ebola: Lives to be saved with new management approach
Ebola outbreaks are set to be managed quickly and efficiently -- saving lives -- with a new approach developed by an international team of researchers, including the University of Warwick, which helps to streamline outbreak decision-making.
Ebola vaccines provide immune responses after 1 year
Immune responses to Ebola vaccines at one year after vaccination are examined in a new study appearing in the March 14 issue of JAMA.
New scoring system predicts Ebola severity
While Ebola virus disease (EVD) is notorious for being one of the world's most deadly infections, it actually has a wide range of outcomes, where asymptomatic presentation may be as common as fatality.
Could co-infection with other viruses affect the survival of those with Ebola virus?
Could co-infection with other viruses have a detrimental affect on Ebola survival, and why did some show Ebola symptoms without having the virus?
More Ebola News and Ebola Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...