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Pre-clinical research

Researchers highlight possible Ebola drug target

A promising approach to target the Ebola virus involves the use of synthetic antisense molecules called phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs), which target viral mRNA and suppress translation.

Source: NIAID / Alamy

Scientists have identified VP24, an important virulence factor encoded by the Ebola virus (virus particles shown budding from a chronically infected cell) 

Effective therapies for the prevention and treatment of the deadly Ebola virus are urgently needed. A promising approach involves the use of synthetic antisense molecules called phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs), which are able to target viral mRNA and suppress translation.

US researchers have previously shown that a combination PMO targeting genes that code for two proteins, VP24 and VP35, protected monkeys from lethal Ebola virus infection. Now, the team has found that a PMO targeting VP24 alone conferred protection, whereas a PMO targeting VP35 alone was ineffective[1].

The finding suggests that VP24 is an important virulence factor encoded by the Ebola virus, the researchers conclude in mBio (online, 10 February 2015). Furthermore, using a single PMO will simplify drug development and regulatory approval.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067884

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