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Creating a synthetic version of the Ebola virus to help fight the real thing

| | July 17, 2019

Scientists at the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention have created a synthetic version of the Ebola virus circulating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of an effort to determine whether diagnostic tests and experimental treatments being used in the field are effective.

The research, conducted in the agency’s most secure laboratories — BSL4 — showed that even though the tests and two of the treatments being used in the field were developed based on earlier variation of Ebola viruses, they continue to be effective against the virus causing the current outbreak.

Ebola scientists who were not involved in the work praised the CDC’s effort, saying it is important to test the tools being used against the virus in the outbreak. But they noted it would be easier, faster, and potentially more accurate to use actual viruses.

Gary Kobinger, who led the work to develop the Ebola treatment ZMapp — one of the therapies the CDC group tested against the synthesized virus — said it is becoming increasingly difficult to get pathogens to study. It’s a global trend, he said, and one that threatens the world’s ability to conduct surveillance and develop diagnostic tests for disease-causing pathogens.

Read full, original post: CDC made a synthetic Ebola virus to test treatments. It worked

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