Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Ebola Rendered Useless when Genetically Modified
The Ebola virus is notorious for being one of the most deadly viruses in the modern world. Akin to many other epidemic-causing pathogens, the Ebola virus has resulted in the deaths in over 11,000 individuals, primarily in West Africa. However, cases of this deadly virus have been documented all over the world, including 66 cases in America and over 3,000 cases in Europe.
Researchers at the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at Georgia State University performed a study in an attempt to incapacitate Ebola in response to the growing threat of the disease. The team genetically altered a sample of Ebola, specifically changing the VP35 protein. This protein allows Ebola to fight off any early immune responses the host organism may enact. This mutated virus was not only safe for the team to work with, but is also completely ineffective. Additionally, when monkeys who had first been exposed to the mutated version of the virus were later exposed to the wild-type virus, they exhibited immunity to it.
This study is fascinating because it introduces a potential "vaccine" for the Ebola virus. With further animal and human testing, this discovery could be huge. Applications of this mutated virus would be life-changing in areas heavily affected by Ebola, and could hopefully lead to eradication of the disease as a whole.
Related Website (Paper on the function of VP35): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3061251/