LONDON: Researchers at the University of Liverpool have revealed they have made a breakthrough that could lead to a cure being developed for the Ebola virus currently sweeping through West Africa.
A team from the Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging Infections, based at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, have been investigating new ways to treat Ebola. The team is behind the potential breakthrough in the global race to find a treatment.
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.
They 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 signalling in infected human cells and disrupts the body’s immune system and the fight against the virus.
From there the Liverpool team looked at whether any existing drugs already block the function of this particular protein. They found the heart drug, ouabain, when administered can reduce the virus’ replication.