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Scientists Discover How Ebola Virusdisables Immune Response - Health - Nairaland

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Scientists Discover How Ebola Virusdisables Immune Response by iykemoney90(m): 7:37am On Aug 14, 2014
SCIENTISTS say they have found how the lethal
Ebola virus blocks and disables the body’s ability
to battle infections in a discovery that should help
the search for potential cures and vaccines.
A group of scientists in the United States found
that Ebola carries a protein called VP24 that
interferes with a molecule called interferon, which
is vital to the immune response.
“One of the key reasons that Ebola virus is so
deadly is because it disrupts the body’s immune
response to the infection,” said Chris Basler of the
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New
York, who worked on the study. “Figuring out how
VP24 promotes this disruption will suggest new
ways to defeat the virus.”
The team, lead by Gaya Amarasinghe from
Washington University School of Medicine, found
that VP24 works by stopping something called
“transcription factor STAT1” – which carries
interferon’s antiviral message – from entering the
nucleus of a cell and initiating an immune
“This study shows just how nefarious the Ebola
virus can be,” said Ben Neuman, a virologist at
Britain’s university of Reading who was not directly
involved in this study.
“Ebola virus carries a small tool that intercepts the
cell’s distress signals, and when this happens, it
disables some of the most useful machinery that
our bodies have for fighting Ebola. That leaves the
body with only crude defences that are less
effective at stopping the virus, and end up causing
much of the damage that can eventually lead to
Ebola is one of the most deadly diseases known in
humans and has a case fatality rate of up to 90
percent. In the current epidemic in West Africa, the
virus has infected more than 1,800 people. So far,
1,013 of these have died the vast majority in
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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