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Novel drug treatment protects primates from deadly Marburg virus

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Posted March 5, 2014

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated the effectiveness of a small-molecule drug in protecting nonhuman primates from the lethal Marburg virus. Their work, published online in the journal Nature, is the result of a continuing collaboration between Army scientists and industry partners that also shows promise for treating a broad range of other viral diseases.

According to senior author Sina Bavari, the drug, known as BCX4430, protected cynomolgous macaques from Marburg virus infection when administered by injection as long as 48 hours post-infection. Bavari and his team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) also found that BCX4430 protected guinea pigs exposed to Marburg virus by the inhalation route.

Developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc., BCX4430 also demonstrated activity against a broad range of other RNA viruses, including the emerging viral pathogen Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), when tested in cell culture.

“This study demonstrates the importance of government-industry collaboration,” said COL Erin P. Edgar, commander of USAMRIID. “Developing filovirus medical countermeasures is a top biodefense priority for the United States. When federal assets like USAMRIID team up with cutting-edge partners in private industry, we can make real progress toward achieving that goal.”

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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