Ebola Virus Current Affairs

Scientists discover First Natural Human Antibodies against Ebola Virus

A team of scientists from the United States have discovered a possible cure for Ebola viruses. They have discovered the first natural human antibodies that are capable of neutralizing and protecting animals against all three major disease-causing ebola viruses. The findings could lead to the discovery of first effective ebolavirus therapies and vaccines. 

Scientists have discovered the broadly neutralizing antibodies from the blood of a survivor of the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak. Scientists have also pinpointed the human gene which is expected to be the source of the immune cells that produce these antibodies. These antibodies could emerge as a single therapy to treat all Ebola viruses. 

Background

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, from which it takes its name. It is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats are natural host of this virus. It spreads through contact with body fluids of inflected persons such as blood, urine and saliva. Symptoms faced by people who have contracted the Ebola virus include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage. In 2014, Ebola virus had erupted periodically mainly across west and east Africa mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It was the deadly outbreak of the virus in the history that had killed 11,000 people.

 

 

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Ebola reaches US

Ebola virus which has claimed many lives in African nations due to lack of proper treatment and medication has now reached soils of United States of America. A patient who has recently travelled from Liberia on September 19, reached US on September 20. He was completely healthy at the time of his travel but developed symptoms of the infection after 4-5 days of his stay. He has been admitted to a Dallas hospital.
Authorities have kept his identity and the details of mode of infection secret. There were no media briefing about the treatment that is being administered to him. The patient has been kept in ICU and in isolation. He was on a family visit to US and has been moving freely ever since his arrival. Even after the apparent symptoms of the disease, he still had contacts with some people before he was put in complete isolation. The authorities are finding ways to pick out these contacts. Even the health crew who transported the patient has also been kept in isolation. The authorities also confirmed how many other patients the ambulance carried after the transport of Ebola infected person. Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has duly stressed that there is no risk to public health and as all procedures were properly followed to decontaminate the ambulance. However, how far and wide the patient travelled in Dallas before being diagnosed is yet to be probed and checked to rule out any public health hazard.

Dr. Frieden finally added that “the bottom line here is that I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country”. Ebola causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which can affect multiple organ systems in the body and is often accompanied by bleeding. Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, each of which can be easily mistaken early on for other ailments like malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis.
Ebola is spread by direct contact with someone sick with the virus. That means people on the patient’s flight are not thought to be at risk, as he did not begin to show symptoms until several days after arriving in the United States, Frieden said.

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