Nucleic acid analogs often used to modify gene expression ― called morpholino oligomers ― can protect primates from the lethal effect of the Ebola virus, according an article published this week in Nature Medicine. Though not tested in humans, these findings may highlight a potential for therapies in humans.
No vaccines or therapeutics exist to counter the highly pathogenic Ebola and the related Marburg viruses, which cause viral hemorrhagic fever.
Sina Bavari and her colleagues now show that injection of morpholino oligomers directed against viral genes kept rhesus monkeys from dying after infection with the Ebola or Marburg virus. Importantly, the monkeys were protected even if the morpholinos were administered one hour after exposure to the viruses, highlighting the potential of the approach as a therapeutic strategy in an emergency setting.