Drug Profile

There are no current vaccines or drug treatments available for Ebola and Marburg. There is, however, extensive testing and development going on worldwide.

Treatment of Ebola virus

A recent report suggested that a recombinant anti-clotting agent called rNAPc2 originally derived from parasitic hookworms may be helpful in treating Ebola, and indeed, other haemorrhagic virus infections. Infection with the Ebola virus induces overexpression of the procoagulant tissue factor in primate monocytes and macrophages, suggesting that inhibition of the tissue-factor pathway could ameliorate the effects of Ebola haemorrhagic fever.

Geisbert et al. Treatment of Ebola virus infection with a recombinant inhibitor of factor VIIa/tissue factor: a study in rhesus monkeys. Lancet. 2003 Dec 13;362(9400):1953-8.

Potential for Filovirus Vaccine

Researchers have long been searching for a way to prevent filovirus infection as it has a high mortality rate and there is little available in terms of treatment. It looks as if they might have finally found the answer. Research has shown that the use of virus-like particles (non-infectious, but highly immunogenic) can elicit a strong enough immune response in guinea pigs to protect them against infection with a wild type virus. The vaccine is effective in preventing both genera of filovirus: Ebola and Marburg because the virus-like particles include glycoproteins and the matrix protein VP40 from both viruses. The next phase of research on this potential vaccine is to test its effectiveness in protecting non-human primates against these deadly viruses.

Swenson et al. “Virus-like particles exhibit potential as a pan-filovirus vaccine for both Ebola and Marburg viral infections.” Vaccine. Volume 23. Issue 23. April 27, 2005. Pages 3033-3042.