Past Ebola outbreaks killed as many as 90 percent of the people who got the disease. This most recent one did not — as many as 60 percent of infected people survived. Nobody is sure why. It might have had something to do with the particular strain of the germ; for example few people bled from their eyeballs this time. Or maybe it had to do with the better standard of care many of the infected received. Regardless, thousands of people got sick but didn’t die. By definition their immune systems now make antibodies to the virus, proteins that can fight Ebola and win. Those antibodies are, essentially, the ideal medicine. Or rather they would be, if someone could unpack the biochemical manufacturing process that creates them.
The survivors’ blood cells contain the key, the blueprint for making that hypothetical drug. Scientists at Tulane University in New Orleans were waiting to try to do just that. And if they succeed? They might unlock not only a new treatment for Ebola but also a way to make new treatments for any virus, a broad-spectrum method for making drugs against diseases both common and rare, from influenza to Lassa fever. It would be a potent treatment option where today next to none exist.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Ebola survivors may be the key to treatment – for almost any disease