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Can scientists derive a cure for Ebola from blood of survivors?

| | November 10, 2014

A group of scientists including three Nobel laureates in medicine has proposed that U.S. health officials chart a new path to developing Ebola drugs and vaccines by harnessing antibodies produced by survivors of the deadly outbreak.

The proposal builds on the use of “convalescent serum,” or survivors’ blood, which has been given to at least four U.S. Ebola patients who then recovered from the virus. It is based on an approach called passive immunization, which has been used since the 19th century to treat diseases such as diphtheria but has been largely surpassed by vaccination.

The scientists propose using new genetic and other technologies to find hundreds or thousands of different Ebola antibodies, determine their genetic recipe, grow them in commercial quantities and combine them into a single treatment analogous to the multi-drug cocktails that treat HIV-AIDS.

That contrasts with current drug development, which focuses on finding one molecule, or a small number, to defeat the Ebola virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa and infected thousands more since March.

Read full original article: Scientists tell U.S. – find recipe for Ebola cure in survivors’ blood

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