Mapp Bio Steps onto Global Stage as Ebola “Hot Zone” Gets Hotter

8/29/14Follow @bvbigelow

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farther to become the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

One factor might be that this Ebola virus has a lower mortality rate. It kills about 50 percent of those infected, according to the CDC.

Other clues may lie in a study published today in the journal Science. Scientists at the Broad Institute and Harvard University, working with Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, found more than 300 genetic changes that make the 2014 Ebola virus genomes distinct from the viral genomes analyzed in previous Ebola outbreaks.

“One of the things we will be doing in my lab is looking at all those mutations” to see if there is something there that makes the virus replicate more easily, or makes it easier for the virus to suppress an immune response, Saphire said. Every Ebola lab in the world also has been identifying antibodies that bind to the surface of the Ebola virus, and forwarding their findings to Saphire’s lab.

With more information like this, she said it may be possible to identify new or different combinations of antibodies that work more effectively to stop Ebola. All it takes is time and money. If only there were more of both.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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