Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ebola virus changes over time, may thwart drugs

20 January 2015, 21:35

Miami - The deadly Ebola virus is changing, and new genetic mutations that have arisen in the past four decades could thwart the experimental drugs that some pharmaceutical companies are developing, researchers said Tuesday.

There is no drug on the market to treat Ebola, and no vaccine to prevent it, but clinical trials were accelerated last year after the worst outbreak in history began sweeping West Africa, killing more than eight thousand people so far and infecting more than 21,000.

Also read: Economic impact of Ebola less severe than first thought - World Bank

Until recently, drug companies had been reluctant to invest much in Ebola treatments, seeing little cash return from treating a virus that tends to strike sporadically in Africa.

Even though some drugs are now being fast-tracked, they were developed well over a decade ago, based on strains of Ebola that were identified when the virus first emerged in the 1970s.

Some of the most promising drugs bind to and target a piece of the virus's genetic sequence.

Since viruses naturally mutate over time, that could mean the drugs will not work as well as hoped, said the study in the journal mBio.

"The virus has not only changed since these therapies were designed, but it's continuing to change," said lead author Jeffrey Kugelman, a viral geneticist at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from USAMRIID, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that about three percent of the genome of the current strain of Ebola virus in West Africa contained changes, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, when compared to outbreaks of other Ebola variants in 1976 and 1995.

They also found 10 new mutations that might interfere with the actions of monoclonal antibody, siRNA (small-interfering RNA), or PMO (phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer) drugs currently being tested, according to the research.

Three of those 10 mutations appeared during the current epidemic which has struck mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The researchers urged drug developers to check whether the mutations they found might affect their experimental therapeutics.

"Ebola researchers need to assess drug efficacy in a timely manner to make sure that valuable resources are not spent developing therapies that no longer work," said Kugelman.


Tags who miami ebola

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...