US government researchers working to find ways to treat the highly deadly Ebola virus said on Sunday a new approach from AVI BioPharma Inc saved monkeys after they were infected.
Two experimental treatments protected more than 60 percent of monkeys infected with Ebola and all the monkeys infected with a related virus called Marburg, the team at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland reported.
AVI BioPharma already has a contract worth up to $291 million from the US Department of Defense to develop Ebola treatments.
The company has submitted investigational new drug applications for AVI-6002 and AVI-6003 to the US Food and Drug Administration and may now test the drugs in people.
Ebola causes a very serious hemorrhagic fever that has caused dozens of frightening and deadly outbreaks across Africa and threatens the endangered gorilla populations as well as people.
It is considered a possible bioterrorism weapon.
There is no treatment and no vaccine against Ebola, which passes via close personal contact and, depending on the strain, kills up to 90 percent of victims. But several studies in the past few months have shown that experimental "antisense" therapies can stop the virus.
In May a US government team reported that small interfering RNAs or siRNAs could hold the virus at bay for a week until the immune system could take over.
1. What virus was treated with the drug?
2. How much is the contract with the US Department of Defense worth?
3. What percentage of victims are killed by Ebola?
Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.