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.