Scientists have successfully immunized mice against Ebola virus using hollow virus-like particles, or VLPs, which are non-infectious but capable of provoking a robust immune response. These Ebola VLPs conferred complete protection to mice exposed to lethal doses of the virus.
The work could serve as a basis for development of vaccines and other countermeasures to Ebola, which causes hemorrhagic fever with case fatality rates as high as 80 percent in humans. The virus, which is infectious by aerosol, is of concern both as a global health threat and a potential agent of biological warfare or terrorism. Currently there are no available vaccines or therapies.
In a study published in this weeks online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sina Bavari and colleagues at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) describe creating VLPs from two Ebola virus proteins, glycoprotein (GP) and matrix protein (VP40). These VLPs resemble a shell of infectious viral particles but lack the genetic material necessary for reproduction.
Caree Vander Linden | EurekAlert!
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