CDC Researchers Create Synthetic Ebola Virus To Test Experimental Treatments, Diagnostics

CBS DFW: Research Shows Two Treatments Effective Against Deadly Ebola Strain
“New research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows two investigational Ebola treatments used in the ongoing outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are effective in laboratory studies. … The treatments — the antiviral remdesivir and antibodies in the ZMapp treatment — blocked growth of the virus strain causing the outbreak in human cells in the laboratory. The research suggests, according to the CDC, that the treatments may help patients recover from the deadly illness. The study also showed that the lab test most often used in DRC and neighboring countries to diagnose Ebola appears to be accurate for the outbreak strain now circulating in DRC, which researchers are calling the Ituri strain…” (7/8).

STAT: CDC made a synthetic Ebola virus to test treatments. It worked
“Scientists at the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention have created a synthetic version of the Ebola virus circulating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of an effort to determine whether diagnostic tests and experimental treatments being used in the field are effective. The research, conducted in the agency’s most secure laboratories — BSL4 — showed that even though the tests and two of the treatments being used in the field were developed based on earlier variation of Ebola viruses, they continue to be effective against the virus causing the current outbreak, the second largest on record. The results, reported Tuesday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, are encouraging, but also raise questions about why outside research groups have not received direct access to viral specimens from the DRC and instead had to create a synthetic version. The paper noted that there have been no Ebola samples available to the scientific community from the past four outbreaks in the DRC. Those outbreaks occurred in 2014, 2017, and 2018…” (Branswell, 7/9).

Additional coverage of the study and the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CNBC, CNN, New Humanitarian, and PRI.

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