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Infectious Disease Treatment to Receive a Boost from Study on Blood Samples of Ebola Survivors

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Finding ways to treat infectious diseases using the blood of Ebola survivors is the aim of a new US sponsored project, and because of its success in curing four Ebola victims of the disease, Atlanta’s Emory University is heading a large-scale project towards achieving this very aim. The other stakeholders in the project include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Rockefeller University, Scripps Research Institute and Vanderbilt University.

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The team plans to adopt two different approaches

Rafi Ahmed, the Director of the Atlanta center, will be leading the study on the four Ebola survivors. As part of their study, the researchers will separate the survivors’ antibodies produced by them in response to the virus, and through a series of animal trials will endeavor to identify the antibodies that would prove to be effective against the virus. Researchers will also be seen adopting two approaches in their quest to come up with an effective treatment. By the first method, the team will produce big amounts of these antibodies and have them infused into patients intravenously. The second approach would deal with injecting individuals with genetic materials like RNA and DNA so that the human body develops the capability to produce antibodies to fight the infectious disease.

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Team hopes to come up with RNA and DNA based protective drugs

It is the second method on which the team rests their hope, because even though traditional vaccines are known to boost the body’s response to infections, such traditional vaccine technology that uses weakened or destroyed viruses to excite an immune response, takes many months to make and has a shorter shelf life as well. Moreover, protection offered by the traditional method is only viable for a short period of time.

 

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