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article imageIs the protein furin the answer to stopping Ebola?

By Tim Sandle     Nov 14, 2014 in Science
There are many investigations taking place into tackling the Ebola virus. One stream of research is looking into the protein furin. This protein is responsible for activating other proteins that allow the virus to spread within the human body.
Furin is a unique protein. It is responsible for activating other types of proteins and is involved in the processing and maturation of viral and bacterial preproteins. These are the trigger mechanism for disease spread within the human body.
Furin is utilized by a number of pathogens. This includes the viruses such as HIV, influenza and dengue fever viruses. To spread the protective envelopes of these viruses need to be cleaved by furin to become fully functional. It also stands that anthrax toxin, pseudomonas exotoxin, and papillomaviruses must be processed by furin during their initial entry into human body cells.
By examining furin activity scientists think that it could be possible to develop a range of anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer treatments. This would include Ebola, and it is into this viral disease that on tranche of research is directed.
It is hoped that inhibitors of furin can act as therapeutic agents for treating Ebola infection.
The research has been published in published in the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. The research is titled “Ebola Virus Envelope Glycoprotein derived Peptide in Human Furin-bound State: Computational Studies.”
In related news, studies on Ebola drug treatments continue. France's National Institute of Health and Medical Research are toconduct a trial using the antiviral drug favipiravir in Gueckedou, Guinea, and the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine will test convalescent whole blood and plasma therapy in Guinea. This is set to begin in December 2014.
Furthermore, some recent success has been achieved using an animal model. Biologists based at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba have identified a number of antibodies that are linked to proteins on the shell of the Ebola virus. By combining the antibodies into a special cocktail and administering it to four macaques within 24 hours of Ebola infection, the study found that all test macaques survived.
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