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Protein Structure May Lead to Cure for Ebola

For those who haven’t been keeping up with the latest in viral outbreaks, Ebola has been spreading throughout West Africa and has already taken the lives of 2,600 people since the outbreak in March 2014.  According to the World Health Organization , there are currently no certified vaccines or treatments for Ebola but a new breakthrough may have answers to developing a cure or vaccine for the deadly disease

Scientists at the University of Virginia have gotten their hands on a crystalized structure of the Ebola Nucleoprotein C-Terminal domain, which is an important protein used in replicating the virus.  The tertiary fold of the C-terminal is “unique in the RNA virus world,” claims structural biologist Dr. Zygmunt Derewenda, and this unique fold could ultimately lead to the foundation of drugs to prevent further infections.

The team was able to produce the protein by using E Coli as the protein factory.  So far, the protein demonstrates traits that are extremely unique and unlike other known proteins.  Evidence thus far has shown that the viral nucleoapsid is self assembled by the domain.  Insights and new research that the UVA team is conducting is paving the way to an Ebola anti-viral drug.


Ebola Virus Particles


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  1. mitokahndria

    Awesome article Samer! Hearing about Ebola on the news and the severity of the cases brought to Emory and the CDC has been scary but interesting! I actually just went to Emory this past weekend and it was so interested to get the students and Faculty’s perspective on what it was like to have Ebola patients cured right around the corner from their dorm! In this article and the CDC, there is potential for the virus to infect 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January. What can we do to help prevent this and put a stop of this? Stephanie…Is Russia interested in sending this drug over to other places in the world if Ebola spread? And are people interested in taking the risk and trying the drug?

  2. herarst

    Good article Samer. Not surprised to see scientist taking action against Ebola after the media attention it has received recently. This article I found says that they could start vaccine trials in a few months in Africa. ( This could be the beginning of a long quest to find a cure.

  3. gergory

    Very interesting article Samer. I am very interested in the potential treatments of Ebola if they exist. I read, and this article talked about how scientists in Canada have found antibodies that match the Ebola virus and have found success in monkeys. This was very fascinating to me because it could potentially save thousands of lives in Africa.

  4. gherloniapparatus

    This article is so informative! It’s so scary to see the spread of Ebola, but also amazing to see the new research and discoveries arising for an anti-viral drug. According to this article, Russia has been working on a new drug, Triazavirin, which has potential to cure Ebola.The number of reported cases has reached 4,985, and the drug has a proposed plan to cure up to 20,000. I am curious to see if this newly found drug will actually have potential to stop the spread of Ebola.

  5. kysquared

    Very interesting article, Samer 🙂
    I’m very curious as to how worried I should be about Ebola spreading to the US. In this article:, they mention that the risk of contracting Ebola in the US is really small. They especially mention that the spreading of Ebola is much more difficult than is portrayed in the movies. In 2008, a virus similar to Ebola was exposed to more than 200 people, and nobody got the virus. Maybe we shouldn’t be worried after all.

  6. andybody

    Very interesting article Samer. It’s amazing that Ebola has managed to spread unchecked throughout Africa. According to the wiki page on Ebola ( the virus is spread through close personal contact and sometimes through the use of infected needles (as in the first well documented case of Ebola in Zaire in 1976). According to the CDC website ( the Zaire outbreak killed 280 of the 318 infected people. I wonder what enabled 12% of the infected persons to survive and how the outbreak was finally stopped. Why is it so much more difficult to quell this 2014 outbreak?

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