Research NewsInfectious Diseases

A Method in Ebola's Madness

Science  13 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5353, pp. 983-984
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5353.983

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On page 1034, a team of molecular virologists reports results suggesting that the Ebola virus uses different versions of the same glycoprotein--a protein with sugar groups attached--to wage a two-pronged attack on the body. One glycoprotein, secreted by the virus, seems to paralyze the inflammatory response that should fight it off, while the other, which stays bound to Ebola, homes in on the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, helping the virus infect and damage them. If confirmed in infected animals and humans, the findings suggest that these glycoproteins could be targets for anti-Ebola vaccines as well as for drugs that treat Ebola infections.