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Einstein helps establish $28 million consortium to find ebola treatment
Date:3/20/2014

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a five-year, $28 million grant to establish a new center for excellence to find an antibody "cocktail" to fight two types of viruses that cause severe hemorrhagic fever, including the deadly Ebola virus. The project involves researchers from 15 institutions, including Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., and Jonathan Lai, Ph.D., at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Einstein will receive approximately $4 million of the total grant.

The project will be led by Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., professor at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). "It's a global collaboration," said Dr. Saphire. "Everyone in the field got on the same page to collaborate on a set of definitive experiments."

Ebola causes an extremely virulent disease that leads to death in 25 to 90 percent of cases. Outbreaks of the fast-moving virus, which spreads via the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, have occurred in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years. Ebola, and its close relative, Marburg virus, are both filoviruses. The project will seek to advance treatments for these, as well as the Lassa, Junn and Machupo arenaviruses. No FDA-approved treatments exist for any of these pathogens.

Advancing Therapies Against Ebola

Monoclonal antibodies, a type of protein that can bind to and disable specific substances in the body, are currently thought to be the most effective form of antiviral treatment for Ebola and related viruses. In the last year, researchers have identified specific antibodies and cocktails of antibodies that effectively protect against Ebola virus and Lassa virus in animal models and have pioneered approaches to develop n
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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