Biomedical researcher details new ways of controlling, treating Ebola
According to the paper, published online by the Journal of Virology, Griffiths’ work showed the structure of the Ebola virus may prove vulnerable to new vaccines.
"We found that Ebola virus had very limited ability to tolerate spontaneous changes in the genome, thus it was reasoned that chemically increasing the mutation frequency may decrease the number of viable virions released from a cell," Griffiths said.
Examination of the structure of Ebola is also revealing more information about the material of the virus, including how the virus lives, spreads and changes in response to environment, treatment and time.
"Interestingly, viruses appear to have evolved to have an optimal mutation rate," Griffiths said. "Increasing the mutation rate could produce a negative effect on the virus and serve as a valuable therapeutic tool."
According to Griffiths’ research, one such option is "ribavirin, a drug undergoing testing on mice and monkeys."
The manner in which the Ebola virus changes as a response to ribavirin has given researchers hope in the possibility of controlling and containing the disease, but this testing is preliminary.
"We plan to test other drugs in the hope of improving the efficacy observed using ribavirin," Griffiths said.