Antisense therapies protect primates from Ebola and Marburg viruses

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Washington, Aug 23 (ANI): A new study has revealed that treatments targeting specific viral genes can protect monkeys infected with deadly Ebola or Marburg viruses.

Working with a class of compounds known as antisense phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers, or PMOs, scientists conducted studies in which nine rhesus monkeys were challenged with lethal Ebola virus, reports Nature.

Treatment was initiated 30-60 minutes after exposure to the virus. In these studies, five of eight monkeys survived, while the remaining animal was untreated.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases team next turned its attention to Marburg virus.

Investigators conducted two pilot studies in cynomolgus monkeys to assess the efficacy of AVI-6003 against lethal challenge with Marburg virus.

As with the Ebola studies, treatments were initiated 30-60 minutes after infection. All 13 animals receiving AVI-6003 survived.

"This report of successful early post-exposure treatment of filovirus hemorrhagic fever is significant on its own," said Colonel John P. Skvorak, USAMRIID commander.

"But the drug characteristics of these PMOs also support investigation of potentially broader therapeutic applications," he added. (ANI)

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