From the Journals

Ebola research update: March 2017


The struggle to defeat Ebola virus disease continues globally, although it may not always make the headlines. To catch up on what you may have missed, here are some notable news items and journal articles published over the past few weeks that are worth a second look.

Malaria parasite coinfections were common in patients presenting to Ebola treatment units in Sierra Leone and conferred an increased mortality risk in patients infected with Ebola virus, according to a study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

CDC/Daniel J. DeNoon
An analysis in DNA and Cell Biology found that cells infected by the Ebola virus may release viral proteins such as VP40 packaged in exosomes, which can affect immune cells throughout the body, impairing their ability to combat the infection and to seek out and destroy hidden virus.

New oral vaccine technologies hold great promise as a tool for protecting endangered tropical wildlife from Ebola virus disease, according to a study on captive chimpanzees published in Scientific Reports.

A European study in JAMA found that immunity after heterologous primary and booster vaccination with Ebola virus vaccines Ad26.ZEBOV and MVA-BN-Filo persisted at 1 year. The researchers said a strategy of preemptive use of an Ad26.ZEBOV, followed by MVA-BN-Filo immunization schedule in at-risk populations may offer advantages over reactive use of single-dose vaccine regimens.

An analysis in Cell Host & Microbe concluded that the Ebola virus glycoprotein (GP) acquired an A82V change during the West Africa epidemic and that this change altered the capacity of GP to be activated by host factors, enhancing infection of human cells.

The overall decrease in bushmeat consumption in West Africa associated with the Ebola crisis may have had a short-term positive effect on vulnerable wildlife populations, according to a recent study.

A study in the Journal of Virology found that limiting the excessive TLR4-mediated proinflammatory response in Ebola virus infection should be considered as a potential supportive treatment option for Ebola virus disease.

The Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory have announced the availability of a new standard to assist in the collection, aggregation, and analysis of Ebola virus disease research data.

A small study published in PLOS One found that treatment with interferon beta-1a of people with Ebola virus disease may be associated with clearance of virus from blood, better clinical features, and potentially, improved survival.

Finally, medical evacuation of patients with suspected potentially fatal, infectious diseases such as Ebola virus is feasible using a light isolator containment pod for patients without critical dysfunctions, according to a study in BMC Emergency Medicine.

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