Antiviral Protein May Inhibit Ebola and Marburg Virus

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Researchers from Germany found that an antiviral protein previously shown to inhibit other viruses may also protect against Ebola and Marburg virus infection. They report their findings in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Virology.

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Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV) belong to the Filoviridae family and cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. Filovirus infections are characterized by high fever, hemorrhages and shock and are responsible for mortality rates up to 90%. Currently, there is no vaccine or therapy available for treating infected patients.

In a previous study researchers found the zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP) capable of inhibiting Moloney murine leukemia virus and Sindbis virus replication. In this study ZAP was tested for its antiviral activity in cells infected with EBOV and MARV. Results showed significant inhibition of EBOV, up to 95 % while MARV was less significant suggesting the antiviral effectiveness of ZAP may depend on the filovirus species.

"In conclusion, the data demonstrate that ZAP exhibits antiviral activity against filoviruses, presumably by decreasing the level of viral mRNA," say the researchers.

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