Breakthroughs

New Drug Cures Ebola in Monkeys

A cause for hope: Scientists have tested a new Ebola drug that was 100 percent effective in curing the virus in monkeys, says NPR. “We were stunned,” says lead scientist Thomas Geisbert of Boston University. The ebola virus has mortality rates of up to 90 percent, and Geisbert says that previous drugs had offered, at best, 50 percent protection. Geisbert’s team’s drug contains RNA from three of the virus’ seven genes; the drug then attaches itself to these same genes in the virus and prevents them from replicating. One potential complication: The monkeys were given the drug within 30 minutes of being injected with the virus (even two of three monkeys that were injected with 30,000 times more virus than was needed to kill them survived with mild symptoms); humans will not be able to receive the drug so quickly. Geisbert is planning new experiments to test how long after infection the drug will still be effective.