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The Banana Slug: A paragraph summary of "Evaluation of the Potential Impact of Ebola Virus Genomic Drift on the Efficacy of Sequence-Based Candidate Therapeutics"

A paragraph summary of "Evaluation of the Potential Impact of Ebola Virus Genomic Drift on the Efficacy of Sequence-Based Candidate Therapeutics"

Jan 20, 05:51 PM

There have been over 21000 cases of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa since the outbreak began in late 2013, with over 8000 deaths, inspiring significant efforts to procure effective forms of treatment. There are several efforts underway to combat the Ebola Virus. Monoclonal antibodies can target the virus for immune response. Small-interfering RNA (siRNA) can target the virus’s RNA transcripts for degradation before further development. Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO) drugs can block translation of the virus’s RNA transcripts. However, genomic drift presents a challenge to these efforts. Most of these treatments were designed on viral strains from previous outbreaks that occurred in 1976 and 1995. The current Ebola Virus strain, Ebola virus Makona variant (EBOV/Mak), has roughly 600 genetic mutations in comparison to each of the strains from the previous outbreaks. Four of these mutations are found in “published binding region of the siRNA- or PMO-based therapeutics” while 21 have altered monoclonal antibody binding sites. 3 of these binding sites have genetically drifted since the current outbreak began. Several of these changes have increased the ZMAPP cocktails’ antibodies’ affinity for binding to the EBOV/Mak glycoprotein sequence. However, the ultimate affects of these ongoing mutations still require thorough investigation.

source: “http://mbio.asm.org/content/6/1/e02227-14.full

Matt Musselman

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