Study in human cells shows it counteracts Ebola’s defenses
Amid the worsening Ebola outbreak in the Congo, now threatening to spill into Rwanda, a new study suggests that an existing, FDA-approved drug called nitazoxanide could potentially help contain this deadly, highly contagious infection. In meticulous experiments in human cells, led by Boston Children’s Hospital, the drug significantly amplified immune responses to Ebola and inhibited Ebola replication.
The study, published in the Cell Press journal iScience, also showed how the drug works: It enhances the immune system’s ability to detect Ebola, normally impeded by the virus.
Nitazoxanide, or NTZ, is currently used to treat gastrointestinal infections caused by parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. It has been shown to be safe and even comes in a formulation for children. Study leader Anne Goldfeld, MD, of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s, hopes that, with further testing and validation, it could be part of the solution for Ebola.
“Currently, there is no easily deployable therapy for Ebola virus,” she says. “There are some very promising vaccines, but there is no oral, inexpensive medication available.”
The Ebola virus caused more than 10,000 deaths in the 2014-2016 West African epidemic and more than 1,800 lives (as of August 6th) in the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The virus is very good at evading human immune defenses. Though very small, it has two genes devoted to blocking immune responses.
Goldfeld and collaborators Chad Mire, PhD and Thomas Geisbert, PhD at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, showed in Biosafety Level 4 laboratory experiments that NTZ inhibits the Ebola virus (isolated from an earlier outbreak). Additional experiments performed in collaboration with Sun Hur, PhD of Boston Children’s showed that NTZ works by broadly amplifying the interferon pathway and cellular viral sensors, including two known as RIG-I and PKR. By deleting RIG-I and PKR in human cells through CRISPR editing, Goldfeld and University of Texas colleagues showed that NTZ works through these molecules to inhibit Ebola virus.
“Ebola masks RIG-I and PKR, so that cells don’t perceive that Ebola is inside,” explains Goldfeld. “This lets Ebola get a foothold in the cell and race ahead of the immune response. What we’ve been able to do is enhance the host viral detection response with NTZ. It’s a new path in treating Ebola.”
Goldfeld hopes to move into animal studies soon, especially given that NTZ has already been used in millions of people with minimal side effects. If effective, it could thus be easily repurposed for Ebola treatment or prevention.
The Latest on: Ebola
via Google News
The Latest on: Ebola
- Ebola Could Be Eradicated — But Only if the World Works Togetheron August 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. A health worker wearing protective gear attends to a ...
- Measles kill more people in DR Congo than Ebola: NGOon August 17, 2019 at 11:57 am
Kinshasa (DR Congo) (AFP) - Measles has killed 2,758 people in the DR Congo since January, more than the Ebola epidemic in a year, medical NGO Doctors Without Borders said, and called Saturday for a ...
- Q&A: A health official says Ebola has been ‘cured.’ Here’s why that’s not really the caseon August 16, 2019 at 8:37 pm
Amid a year-long Ebola outbreak that has no end in sight, this week’s headlines were unusually upbeat: “Ebola is now curable,” one proclaimed. “Ebola has finally been cured, say scientists,” announced ...
- Op-Ed: Should you be worried about Ebola? It depends on where you liveon August 16, 2019 at 11:00 am
The latest outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic virus Ebola has claimed more than 1,800 lives in Congo and been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health ...
- Mother dies of Ebola in Congo's South Kivu provinceon August 16, 2019 at 10:52 am
(CNN) - A 24-year-old woman has died after contracting Ebola in the South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Health Organization. Her 7-month-old son, who is ...
- Ebola spread to new Congo area shows flawed response - aid workerson August 16, 2019 at 10:05 am
DAKAR, Aug 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ebola's spread to a new part of Democratic Republic of Congo is a disturbing sign that health workers are failing to keep track of high-risk people on ...
- Mother dies of Ebola in Congo's South Kivu province, baby under careon August 16, 2019 at 8:53 am
A 24-year-old woman has died after contracting Ebola in the South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Health Organization. Her 7-month-old son, who is also ...
- Ebola outbreak spreads to 3rd province in eastern Congoon August 16, 2019 at 8:42 am
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo's year-long Ebola outbreak has spread to a new province, with two cases, including one death, confirmed in South Kivu, according to the government health ministry. The ...
- New Ebola front as first cases confirmed in DRC's South Kivuon August 16, 2019 at 8:11 am
Two Ebola cases, including one death, have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) South Kivu province, according to health officials, opening up a new front in the country's more ...
- Congo says its year-long Ebola outbreak has spread to a new province, with two cases confirmed in South Kivuon August 16, 2019 at 5:26 am
KINSHASA, Congo — Congo says its year-long Ebola outbreak has spread to a new province, with two cases confirmed in South Kivu . Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material ...
via Bing News